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Evaporator Theory

Each evaporator consists of two sections. The first is a heating section in which steam is fed into a
calandria, or steam chest, where it condenses on the outer walls of tubes through which juice is passing.
Juice is usually fed into the evaporator below the bottom tube plate and rises in the tubes either as a result
of boiling phenomena, or by forced circulation. Above the upper tube plate there is a disengagement space,
in which juice and vapour are allowed to separate. The juice is then channeled to a down take, which may
be central or annular, and the vapour is channeled to feed the calandria of the next effect. The most common
evaporator design is the Robert type vessel, depicted below.
A common variation on this concept is the long tube, rising film, Kestner type evaporator. The operation is
essentially the same as the Robe11 although Kestner evaporators have two sections. A vertical calandria,
from which juice and vapour are channeled, and the second section a discrete separator, which serves
as the disengagement space. There is no down take, although there may be a recycle of part of the
liquid stream from the separator back to join the incoming feed stream. The first and second effects at
Triangle are Kestner type evaporators, as shown in Figure below:

Multiple effects
In order to use the heat supplied as efficiently as possible, evaporators are usually designed in
a series of between 3 and 6 effects. Steam must only be supplied to the first effect. The boiling juice in
this effect produces some vapour which is used to head the calandria of the next effect. The first effect
is often supplied with exhaust steam from the Turbo Alternators. The pressure of this sttJam may be
made up by the addition of direct steam from the boiler via a drag valve. The vapour evolved from
juice in any effect will, however, be cooler than the steam supplied to that effect. Thus, in order to
maintain a suitable temperature gradient across the tube walls, the juice in each subsequent effect must
be made to boil at a lower temperature. This is done by operating each subsequent effect at a lower
pressure. Due to heating losses, and the need to allow a sufficient driving force for rapid heat transfer,
the number of effects in series is usually limited to 5 or 6. Another consideration, when designing a
multiple effect evaporator system is that the juice will deteriorate if kept at elevated temperatures for
too long. This process is known as inversion, and involves the conversion of sucrose to glucose, along
with a corresponding loss of glucose to other products. Work by several authors, including Vukov (1965),
and Hugot (1983), has indicated that inversion is accelerated by three main factors:
• The operating temperature (the higher the temperature, the faster the rate of inversion,
especially when boiling above 90°C)
• The pH of the juice (the lower the pH, the faster the inversion will occur, especially when
operating below pH 6.0)
• The concentration of reducing sugars.
This process is much more serious in cane sugar manufacture, where the purity of the juice is lower
than beet sugar manufacture (Chen and Chou, 1993). Purity refers to the percentage of total dissolved
substances accounted for as sucrose. The higher this purity is the lower the concentration of reducing sugars,
such as glucose and fructose. This means that in a beet sugar factory, where these reducing sugars are
present in low concentrations, the evaporators can be operated at higher temperatures than their cane sugar
factory counterparts, where the reducing sugars form a larger proportion of total dissolved substances. In
order to take maximum advantage of the steam sent to the evaporators, some of the vapour which is evolved
during evaporation in the first few effects is bled to be used in other parts of the factory. Some authors refer
to this as "juice steam" (Elhaq et al., 1999). Due to the higher temperatures used in a beet sugar factory, the
vapour from several effects, (usually the first four effects) can be used elsewhere (Rousset et al., 1989). In
a cane sugar factory, such as that found at Triangle, only the vapour from the first two effects is at
sufficiently high temperatures to be useful elsewhere. These two vapours are termed V I and V2, i.e. the
vapours arising from the first and second effects respectively. Depending on the requirements of the rest of
the factory, the first two effects must be sized carefully, so as to provide the correct proportions of each
vapour, and to avoid wasting any heat.

These two control systems are differentiated based on the primary control objective - if the main
concern is that throughput is kept at a maximum, then the system is tenned "Throughput Control";
if the primary concern is that the syrup Brix is kept steady, while possibly constraining the total
throughput through the station, then the system is "Brix Control".
The "Brix control" system usually involves the following pairings:
-Level in each vessel is controlled by manipUlating the juice valve on the supply side of the
-Final syrup Brix is controlled by manipUlating the valve on the discharge side of the final effect
- it is this action which has the potential to constraint throughput.
-The total throughput to each set is manipulated according to the level in the first effect.
-The level of juice in the clear juice tank serves as a signal by which to control the throttle valve
on the V2 line to the third effect.

The "Throughput contro)" system usually involves the following pairings:

-Level in each vessel is controlled by manipulating the juice valve on the discharge side of the
-Final syrup Brix is controlled by manipulating the throttle valve on V2 line to the third effect -
this is often a very slow acting form of control, and may not provide very accurate Brix control.
-The total throughput to each set is simply controlled according to the clear juice tank level. The
mixed juice flowrate is controlled based on the mixed juice tank level.