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Spray Drier

Spray drying is a method of producing a dry powder from a liquid or slurry by rapidly drying with a hot gas. This is the preferred method of drying of many thermally-sensitive materials such as foods and pharmaceuticals. A consistent particle size distribution is a reason for spray drying some industrial products such as catalysts. Air is the heated drying media; however, if the liquid is a flammable solvent such as ethanol or the product is oxygen-sensitive then nitrogen is used.

A=Solution or suspension to be dried in, B=Atomization gas in, 1= Drying gas in, 2=Heating of drying gas, 3=Spraying of solution or suspension, 4=Drying chamber, 5=Part between drying chamber and cyclone, 1

6=Cyclone, 7=Drying gas is taken away, 8=Collection vessel of product, arrows mean that this is co-current lab-spraydryer

Spray drying applications

Food: milk powder, coffee, tea, eggs, cereal, spices, flavorings, starch and starch derivatives, vitamins, enzymes, colorings... Pharmaceutical: antibiotics, medical ingredients, additives Industrial: paint pigments, ceramic materials, catalyst supports

A spray dryer is a device used in spray drying. It takes a liquid stream and separates the solute or suspension as a solid and the solvent into a vapor. The solid is usually collected in a drum or cyclone. The liquid input stream is sprayed through a nozzle into a hot vapor stream and vaporized. Solids form as moisture quickly leaves the droplets. A nozzle is usually used to make the droplets as small as possible, maximizing heat transfer and the rate of water vaporization. Droplet sizes can range from 20 to 180 m depending on the nozzle. There are two main types of nozzles: high pressure single fluid nozzle (50 to 300 bars) and two-fluid nozzles: one fluid is the liquid to dry and the second is compressed gas (generally air at 1 to 7 bars). Spray dryers can dry a product very quickly compared to other methods of drying. They also turn a solution or slurry into a dried powder in a single step, which can be advantageous for profit maximization and process simplification.

Why Spray Dry?

In the world of industrial dryers, there are few types that accept pump able fluids as the feed material at the inlet end of the process and produce dry particulate at the outlet. Spray drying is unique in its ability to produce powders with a specific particle size and moisture content without regard for the capacity of the dryer and the heat sensitivity of

the product. This flexibility makes spray drying the process of choice for many industrial drying operations.

Advantages of spray drying:

Able to operate in applications that range from aseptic pharmaceutical processing to ceramic powder production. Can be designed to virtually any capacity required. Feed rates range from a few pounds per hour to over 100 tons per hour. Powder quality remains constant during the entire run of the dryer. Operation is continuous and adaptable to full automatic control. A great variety of spray dryer designs are available to meet various product specifications. Can be used with both heat-resistant and heat sensitive products. As long as they are can be pumped, the feedstock can be abrasive, corrosive, flammable, explosive or toxic. Feedstock can be in solution, slurry, paste, gel, suspension or melt form. Product density can be controlled Nearly spherical particles can be produced. Material does not contact metal surfaces until dried, reducing corrosion problems.

Spray drying basics Concentration

Feedstock is normally concentrated prior to introduction into the spray dryer. that must be evaporated in the spray dryer.


concentration stage increases the solids content thereby reducing the amount of liquid

Spray dryers are characterized by the atomization of the feedstock and the contacting of the spray with heated air. The atomization stage is designed to create the optimum conditions for evaporation and to lead to a dried product having the desired characteristics. Nozzles and rotary atomizers are used to form sprays. Dryers can range from just one nozzle to having over 100.

Droplet-air contact
The central element of a spray dryer is the spray dry chamber. In the chamber, atomized liquid is brought into contact with hot gas (usually air, at a vacuum), resulting in the evaporation of 95%+ of the water contained in the droplets in a matter of a few seconds. The way in which the spray makes contact with the air in the dryer influences the behavior of the droplet during the drying phase and has a direct bearing on the properties of the dried product. The type of contact between the spray and the air is determined by

the position of the atomizer relative tothe air inlet. Nozzle headers are usually located at the top of the dryer and spray down.

Droplet drying
Moisture evaporation takes place in two stages. During the first stage, the temperature in the saturated air at the surface of the droplet is approximately equal to the wet-bulb temperature of the drying air. There is sufficient moisture in the drop to replace the liquid evaporated at the surface and evaporation takes place at a relatively constant rate. The second stage begins when there is no longer enough moisture to maintain saturated conditions at the droplet surface, causing a dried shell to form at the surface. Evaporation then depends on the diffusion of moisture through the shell, which is increasing in thickness. The rate of evaporation falls rapidly during the second phase. Different products have differing evaporation and particle-forming characteristics. Some expand, others contract, fracture or disintegrate. The resulting particles may be relatively uniform hollow spheres, or porous and irregularly shaped.

Following completion of drying, the particles of product must be separated from the drying air. Primary separation is accomplished by the particles simply falling to the bottom of the chamber. A small fraction of the particles remain entrained with the air and must be recovered in separation equipment. Cyclones, bag filters, and electrostatic precipitators may be used for the final separation stage. Wet scrubbers are then often used to purify and cool the air so that it can be released to atmosphere.

Reciprocating compressors:
It use pistons driven by a crankshaft. They can be either stationary or portable, can be single or multi-staged, and can be driven by electric motors or internal combustion engines. Small reciprocating compressors from 5 to 30 horsepower (hp) are commonly

seen in automotive applications and are typically for intermittent duty. Larger reciprocating compressors well over 1,000 hp (750 kW) are commonly found in large industrial and petroleum applications. Discharge pressures can range from low pressure to very high pressure (>18000 psi or 180 MPa). In certain applications, such as air compression, multi-stage double-acting compressors are said to be the most efficient compressors available. Air Heater: A heater is an object that emits heat or causes another body to achieve a higher temperature. In a household or domestic setting, heaters are usually appliances whose purpose is to generate heating (i.e. warmth). Other types of heaters are Ovens and Furnaces. Heaters exist for all states of matter, including solids, liquids and gases and there are 3 types of heat transfer: Convection, Conduction and Radiation. In spray drier, 5 heaters are installed each of 1kW power to heat the air.

Spray Dryer Type

Co-current flow dryer
In a co-current dryer, the spray is directed into the hot air entering the dryer and both pass through the chamber in the same direction. Co current dryers are the preferred design for heat sensitive products because the hottest drying air contacts the droplets at their maximum moisture content. Spray evaporation is rapid, and the temperature of the drying air is quickly reduced by the vaporization of water.

Counter-current flow dryer

In this dryer design , the spray and the air are introduced at opposite ends of the dryer, with the atomizer positioned at the top and the air entering at the bottom. A countercurrent dryer offers more rapid evaporation and higher energy efficiency than a cocurrent design. Because the driest particles are in contact with hottest air, this design is not suitable for heat-sensitive products

Cross Flow Current:

In cross flow current, the air and the feed flow directions are perpendicular to each other.

The cross-current flow pattern exposes each pass of the process fluid to the same air stream. Therefore the pass plates inside the headers are vertical, rather than horizontal, to allow the fluid to pass perpendicular to the air stream.