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5.1 Introduction

In absorption (also called gas absorption, gas scrubbing, or gas washing), there is a transfer of one or more species from the gas phase to a liquid solvent. The species transferred to the liquid phase are referred to as solutes or absorbate. Absorption involves no change in the chemical species present in the system. Absorption is used to separate gas mixtures, remove impurities, or recover valuable chemicals. The operation of removing the absorbed solute from the solvent is called stripping. Absorbers are normally used with strippers to permit regeneration (or recovery) and recycling of the absorbent. Since stripping is not perfect, absorbent recycled to the absorber contains species present in the vapor entering the absorber. When water is used as the absorbent, it is normally separated from the solute by distillation rather than stripping.

Exit gas o 25 C, 90 kPa Liquid absorbent o 25 C, 101.3 kPa kmol/h Water 1943 1 kmol/h Argon 6.9 O2 144.291 N2 535.983 Water 22.0 Acetone 0.05

Feed gas o 25 C, 101.3 kPa kmol/h Argon 6.9 O2 144.3 N2 536 Water 5.0 Acetone 10.3

30 Exit liquid o 22 C, 101.3 kPa kmol/h O2 0.009 N2 0.017 Water 1,926.0 Acetone 10.25

Figure 5.1-1 Typical absorption process. A typical industrial operation for an absorption process is shown in Figure 5.1-11. The feed, which contains air (21% O2, 78% N2, and 1% Ar), water vapor, and acetone vapor, is the gas

1

J. D. Seader and E. J. Henley, Separation Process Principles, , Wiley, 2006, pg. 194

5-1

Packed column2 Plate column3 Figure 5. are dried. Acetone is removed by a 30-tray absorber using water as the absorbent. Three approaches have generally been employed to develop equations used to predict the performance of absorbers and absorption equipment: mass transfer coefficients. However the graphical technique becomes very tedious when several solutes are present and must be considered. graphical solution. Absorption and stripping are conducted mainly in packed columns and plate columns (trayed tower) as shown in Figure 5.cgscgs.mikropul. The absorption factor approach can be utilized either for hand or computer calculation. The percentage of acetone removed from the air stream is 10. 25 2009) http://www.htm (Aug.com/products/wscrubber/packed.3 Although the major component absorbed by water is acetone.leaving a dryer where solid cellulose acetate fibers.com/ga_tt. and absorption factor. The temperature of the exit liquid decreases by 3oC to supply the energy of vaporization needed to strip the water. This energy is greater than the energy of condensation liberated from the absorption of acetone.5% 10.1-2.2. The graphical solution is simple to use for one or two components and provides explicit graphical presentation of the interrelationships of the variables and parameters in an absorption process. The use of mass transfer coefficient is covered in Chapter 2.1-2 Equipment for absorption and stripping.25 ×100 = 99. wet with water and acetone. 2 3 www. there are also small amounts of oxygen and nitrogen absorbed by the water.htm (Aug. 25 2009) 5-2 . Water is also stripped since more water appears in the exit gas than in the feed gas.

b Figure 5. t L V Vt yA. b Vb yA. respectively The component material balance for species A is LbxA. Using 5-3 .5.2-1) V = vapor flow rate L = liquid flow rate t. The mathematical analysis for both the packed and plated columns is very similar.2-2) yA = mole fraction of A in the vapor phase xA = mole fraction of A in the liquid phase For some problems.t + Vb yA.2 Single-Component Absorption Most absorption or stripping operations are carried out in counter current flow processes.t Lb xA.b + Vt yA. The solute-free concentrations are defined as: XA = xA mole fraction of A in the liquid = 1 − x A mole fraction of non-A components in the liquid yA mole fraction of A in the vapor = 1 − y A mole fraction of non-A components in the vapor (5. Lt xA.2-3a) YA = (5. the carrier gas and solvent rates remain constant throughout the absorber. The overall material balance for a countercurrent absorption process is Lb + Vt = Lt + Vb where (5. the use of solute-free basis can simplify the expressions.2-1 Countercurrent absorption process. b = top and bottom of tower.t = LtxA.b where (5. in which the gas flow is introduced in the bottom of the column and the liquid solvent is introduced in the top of the column.2-3b) If the carrier gas is completely insoluble in the solvent and the solvent is completely nonvolatile.

75 40 0.2-6) is L called the operation line and is a straight line with slope when plotted on X A .104 4. The gas entering into the absorber flows at a rate of 500 kmol/h with yA = 0. Table 5. For example.1 7.27 12.76 8.23 12.6 6.42 1.9 5.49 30 9.768 12.552 12.2-1. and Maddox R.36 0.2-4) or YA. 2003.3 and leaving the absorber with yA = 0.YA V coordinates.68 3.t + YA.89 0.J.142 5.20 3.20 10. Mass Transfer: Fundamentals and Applications.0483 3.96 4. Transport Processes and Separation Process Principles. The equilibrium relation is frequently given in terms of the Henry’s law constant which can be expressed in many different ways: PA = HCA = mxA = KxA (5.L to denote the flow rate of the nonvolatile and V to denote the carrier gas flow rate.24 5.0367 2. the material balance for solute A becomes L X A.63 1. C. 988 5 Hines. X A and YA are the mole ratios of A in the liquid and vapor phase.27 20 0. Prentice Hall. The Henry’s law constant H and m have units of pressure/molar concentration and pressure/mole fraction. L.97 6.b − V V (5.t = (5. A.51 0.2-1 list Henry’s law constant m for various gases in water.01 0.55 10 0. Table 5.52 1.0745 5. respectively.. PA is the partial pressure of species A over the solution and CA is the molar concentration with units of mole/volume. pg.02 12. respectively. 1985.t = LX A L X A.2-1 Henry’s Law constant for Gases in water4 (m×10-4 atm/mole fraction) T(oC) CO2 CO C2H6 C 2 H4 He H2 H2 S CH4 N2 O2 0 0.24 4.186 6.0728 3.4 7.2-6) In this equation.29 0.4 5.0268 2.79 0.36 2. pg. at any location in the column including at the two terminals. the material balance for the top part of the column is YA. N.t = L X A.b L X A.b LX A.83 0.29 2. Prentice Hall. 5---------------------------------------------------------------------------------A solute A is to be recovered from an inert carrier gas B by absorption into a solvent.26 0.2-5) The material balance for solute A can be applied to any part of the column. Equation (5..01.t + V YA.233 6.04 4. K is the equilibrium constant or vapor-liquid equilibrium ratio.b + V YA. 4th edition. Solvent enters the absorber at the rate of of 1500 kmol/h with xA = 4 Geankoplis.42 1.t + YA − V V (5.0609 4.35 Example 5.5 6. 255 5-4 .2-7) In this equation.

b = 1 − x A.0898 Moles A in Lb + L 147. Construct the x-y plots for the equilibrium and operating lines using both mole fraction and solute-free coordinates.3) = 350 kmol/h The concentration of A in the solvent stream leaving the absorber can be determined from the following expressions: xA.t = Moles A in Vt Moles A in Vt ⇒ 0. The equilibrium relationship is yA = 2.0010 0.t = 1 − x A .0010 1 − 0.001 + 500×0.01/(1 − 0. YA = 1 − xA 1 − yA x A.b = Moles A in Lb 147.01) = 3.b = Moles A in Lb Moles A in Lb + L Moles of A in Lb = Moles of A in Lt + Moles of A in Vb − Moles of A in Vt Moles of A in Lb = 1500×0.0010 = 0.965 + 1498.8 xA. Solution ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The flow rates of the solvent and carrier gas are given by L = Lt(1 − xA.5354 = 147.5 For the solute free basis: XA = xA yA . The carrier gas may be considered insoluble in the solvent and the solvent may be considered nonvolatile.0898 X A .0987 1 − 0.5354 kmol/h Moles of A in Lb = 1. t X A .965 = = 0.b) = 500(1 − 0.001) = 1498.01 = Moles A in Vt + V Moles A in Vt + 350 Moles of A in Vt = 350×0.965 kmol/h xA.0.5 kmol/h V = Vb(1 − yA.b = 0.3 − Moles of A in Vt yA.500 + 150 − 3.001.t) = 1500(1 − 0.t x A .b = 5-5 .0898 = 0.

2) 5-6 .001 and 0.'Operating line'.Yb=0. X=x. x=linspace(0.0898.2-1 xe=linspace(0./(1-x).Y.ye.X.30 YA.8 xA yA 4) Evaluate the corresponding YA = 1 − yA The operating lines in both mole fraction and solute-free coordinates are calculated from the following procedures: 1) Choose a value of xA between 0.10 xA 2) Evaluate the corresponding X A = 1 − xA 3) Evaluate yA = 2./(1+Y).b L X A + YA. b = 0. plot(xe.30 = 0.1).001.'Operating line'.'--') legend('Equilibrium curve'.Vbar=350.4286.0101 1 − 0.0.t = y A .0./(1-ye).001.y.4286 1 − 0.010 0.b − V V YA 4) Evaluate the corresponding yA = 1 + YA The following Matlab codes plot the equilibrium and operating lines in both mole fraction and solute-free coordinates. ye=2.t y A.x.8*xe.0898). Y=LoV*X+Yb-LoV*Xb.b = 1 − y A . Lbar=1498.ylabel('y') Title('Equilibrium and Operating lines on mole fraction coordinates') figure(2) plot(Xe.t 1 − y A .Ye. Xe=xe.010 = 0.Ye=ye.YA.0898 xA 2) Evaluate the corresponding X A = 1 − xA 3) Evaluate YA = LX A.5.'--') legend('Equilibrium curve'.001 and 0.2) xlabel('x').Xb=.b = The equilibrium curves in both mole fraction and solute-free coordinates are calculated from the following procedures: 1) Choose a value of xA between 0. ------------------------------------------% Example 5. y=Y./(1-xe). LoV=Lbar/Vbar.

Therefore it is advantage to use solute-free coordinates because the operating line will always be straight.ylabel('Y') Title('Equilibrium and Operating lines on solute free coordinates') ------------------------------------------- The equilibrium relation in the mole fraction coordinates is a straight line while the operating line in the solute-free coordinates is a straight line. Normally the equilibrium relation is not a straight line in the mole fraction coordinates. 5-7 .xlabel('X').

2-2C shows the case when the operating line becomes tangent to the equilibrium curve. the intersection of the equilibrium and operating lines occurs at the top of the absorber.2-8a) except in this case the bottom compositions are fixed so that the maximum slope of the operating line occurs when the operating line intersects the equilibrium curve at the top of the column. the intersection of the equilibrium and operating lines occurs at the bottom of the absorber. Xb The driving force for mass transfer becomes zero whenever the operating line intersects or touches the equilibrium curve. In Figure 5.2-2A.2-8a) In Figure 5.2-2B. (5.2-8b) Equation (5.2-2 Limiting conditions for absorption process. This solvent rate can be calculated from the following expression: L Yb − Yt = V max X b − X t (5.(A) Y Yb Yb (B) Yb (C) Yc Yt Yt Yt Xt Xb Xc Xt Xt X Xb Figure 5. This minimum solvent rate can be calculated from the following expression: L Yb − Yt = V min X b − X t (5. (5. Figure 5. Yc and X c are the coordinates of the tangent point.2-9) 5-8 . The minimum liquid-to-vapor ratio for this case can be determined from L Yc − Yt = V min X c − X t In this equation. This condition represents the solvent rate required to remove the maximum amount of solute. This limiting condition represents the minimum solvent rate to recover a specified quantity of solute or the solvent rate required to remove the maximum amount of solute.2-8b) is exactly the same as Eq. This condition defines the minimum solvent rate to recover a specified quantity of solute.

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