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Background of Experiment
Spray drying is a very widely applied, technical method used to dry aqueous or organic

solutions, emulsion and others in industrial chemistry and food industry. Dry milk powder,
detergents and dyes are just a few spray dried products currently available. Spray drying can be
used to preserve food or simply as a quick drying method. It also provides the advantage of
weight and volume reduction. It is the transformation of feed from a fluid state into a dried
particulate form by spraying the feed into a hot drying medium.
The spray drying is the most widely used in industrial process for particle formation and
drying. It is well suited for continuous production of dry solids in powder, granulate or
agglomerate form from a liquid feed. Basically, spray drying is accomplished by atomizing feed
liquid into a drying chamber through a rotating wheel or nozzle, where the small droplets are
subjected to a stream of hot air and converted to powder particles as a result of moisture
evaporation. The resulting rapid evaporation maintains a low droplet temperature so that high
drying air temperatures can be applied without affecting the product.
As the powder is discharged from the drying chamber, it is passed through a powder/air
separator and collected for packaging. Most spray dryers are equipped for primary powder
collection at efficiency of about 99.5 % and most can be supplied with secondary collection
equipment if necessary.


Objectives of Experiment
To study the process of spray drying which is applied to dry aqueous organic solutions,

emulsion and others.

Experiment 5: Spray Dryer | 4SKKK SECTION 04


Scope of Experiment
The experiment was conducted by a group of four people in Separation 2 Laboratory,

University Technology Malaysia. All the apparatus setup was provided in the laboratory and the
experiment was carried out on the 21th September 2014. This experiment is only as a
fundamental reference for further laboratory study.

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Spray dryer

Spray drying is widely used in the industry for conversion of a suspension or solution
into a dry products. In spray drying the suspension or solution feed is atomized and the droplet
formed comes into contact with hot gas. When the droplets and the heated gas come into contact,
the solvent in the droplets evaporate, leaving a dry powdered product. This method usually used
in industrial technique used on large scale for drying and powdering very thermally sensitive
materials such as foods and pharmaceuticals. A spray dryer is a device used in the spray drying
method. The spray dryer used some type of atomizer or spray nozzle in order to disperse the
liquid into a controlled drop size spray. It takes liquid stream and separates the solute as a solid
and the solvent into a vapor. Usually the solid is collected in a drum or cyclone. The liquid input
stream is sprayed through a nozzle into a hot vapor stream and then vaporized. The solids form
moisture quickly leaves the droplets. The function of the nozzle is to make the droplets as small
as possible, maximizing heat transfer and the rate of water vaporization. Generally, the range of
droplets size is between 20 to 180m depending on the nozzle. Furthermore, the spray dryer can
dry the product very quickly compared with other methods of drying. The liquid state turn into
dried powder in a single step, which can be advantageous for profit maximization and process
In order to reduce the dusts and increase the flow ability of the powders, multiple of
spray dryer effects are used to dry the liquid in one stage. There are two steps in drying process
which are one at the top (as per single effect) and an integrated static bed at the bottom of the
chamber. The bottom of the chamber allows the fluidizing powder inside a humid atmosphere to
agglomerate to fine the particles with medium particle size. Then, the fines generated by the first
stage drying can be recycled in continuous flow either at the top chamber or at the bottom of the
chamber. The drying of the powder can be finalized on the external vibrating fluidized bed. The
hot drying gas can be passed as a co- current or counter current flow to the atomizer direction.
The co- current flow enables the particles to have a lower residence time within the system and
Experiment 5: Spray Dryer | 4SKKK SECTION 04

the particle separator operates more efficiently. Usually, the counter- current flow method
enables a greater residence time of the particles in the chamber and usually is paired of spray
dryer in food and drug production.

Figure 2.1: The spray Dryer



Application of spray dryer

Food industry: milk powder, coffee, tea, eggs, cereal, spices, flavorings, starch, and


starch derivatives, vitamins, enzymes, stevia, and colorings.

Pharmaceutical: antibiotics, medical ingredients, additives
Industrial: paint pigments, ceramic materials, catalyst supports and microalgae.


Function of spray dryer

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A device used to produce dried foods

Produce a good quality final product with low water activity and reduce the weight,
resulting in easy storage and transportation.



The parameters of spray dryer

Inlet temperature: The higher the temperature inlet, the faster is the moisture
evaporation but the powder is subjected to higher temperatures, which may distort the


chemical/ physical properties of heat- sensitive products.

Outlet temperature: This governs the sizing of powder recovery equipment, and the
higher the outlet temperature, the larger will be the size of powder recovery equipment
and conveying ducts. The outlet temperature also controls the final moisture content of


the powder.
Volume of particulate powder obtained:
V P =V

[ ( )]


Vp = Volume of particulate powder, cm3
VR = Standard volume, cm3
P1 = Pressure after applying pressure on the standard density
P2 = Pressure after taking Vc into account


Overall thermal efficiency:

overall =

T Ai T

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TAi = The inlet air temperature
TAo = The outlet air temperature
T = The ambient temperature
2.5 Principle of spray dryer

There are three fundamental steps involved in spray drying:

Atomization of a liquid feed into fine droplets.
Mixing of these spray droplets with a heated gas stream, allowing the

liquid to evaporate and leave dried solids.

Dried powder is separate from gas steam and collected.

2.6 Benefits of spray dryer


Typical application in pre- formulated products

Microencapsulation, solid solutions
Improved bioavailability, improved product stability
Products with unusual or difficult characteristics
Sticky or hygroscopic products
Difficult to isolate products
Rapid drying for temperature sensitive materials.

2.7 Advantages of spray drying technology


Pharmaceuticals: Some pharmaceuticals occur in crystal form, making them

difficult to use. It do not easily dissolve in water and are absorbed slowly, so
they are currently unused because of bioavailability. So, the spray dryer dry


the compound once it has been dissolved in water for easier absorption.
Food products: The quick process of spray drying keeps flavor loss to a
minimum. Dairy products, such as milk, cheese, butter and dry creamer are
common items made using the spray drying technique. Other than that, instant
coffee, dry creamer and instant soups also can be spray- dried and previously
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spray- dried foods often serve as baby foods. Spray drying keeps the retail
price of such foods low, because of the process extends the products shelf

Industrial products: Spray dryers give an advantage in many commercial
and industrial industries. For example, in fabrics and clothing, and spraydried pigments appear in many wall paints. Spray dryers reduce the size of
particles found in dyes to allow more consistent and convenient dispersion
into paints. The dyes are allowed to dissolve in liquids that can then dye


clothes and fabrics.

The production of milk powder using spray drying technique: Milk
powder production is an example of spray drying. During the process of milk
powder production, after cooling stages, the milk emulsion is concentrated
and after that the concentrated emulsion becomes ready for spray drying. The
concentrated emulsion is atomized into droplets by a centrifuged atomizer or
high pressure spray nozzle, which located at the top of the spray chamber. The
droplets fall into the spray chamber in a concurrent flow with a hot air, the
moisture in the emulsion droplets is removed by hot air. Milk droplets shrink
in size as water is evaporated from its surface. Finally, the droplets lost most
of their moisture and become particles with a solid crust formed at their




General Set-up Procedures


The cyclone chamber on the holder is installed

The nozzle housing is installed
The sample (liquid) is prepared
the power supply and the main switch in a panel spray drier is switched on
Set the temperature (inlet)
The blower and the heater is switched on
Outlet temperature increased until 100C
The feed pump is switched on

Experiment 5: Spray Dryer | 4SKKK SECTION 04


General Shut-down Procedures


The feed pump and the blower

The heater is switched off and temperature outlet is decreased in range 35-40C
The main switch in a panel spray drier and the power supply
The sample is taken out while the cyclone chamber and housing nozzle is


Table 4.1: Experiment result of particulate powders density

Test 1
Volume of particles 12.426
powder, Vp (cm3)
of 54.321

Test 2

Test 3








particulate powder,

Table 4.2: Experiment result of inlet and outlet temperature

Operation state
Before experiment
During experiment
After experiment

Inlet temperature (C)


Outlet Temperature (C)


Experiment 5: Spray Dryer | 4SKKK SECTION 04

Thermal efficiency (overall) = 61.14%



Figure 5.1

Process Flow Diagram for Entire Spray Drying System

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Figure 5.2

Process Block Diagram for Entire Spray Drying System

Spray drying process is one of the drying techniques used for production of food
powders. It is the simplest technique used by commercial industry to convert the fluid material
into solid or semi-solid particles where the product is heat sensitive or heat resistant. In spray
drying process, the spray dryer uses hot air to evaporate water from the product. The hot air used
is air or inert gas (nitrogen gas). The main driving force is the temperature difference between
the surrounding air and the temperature of particle or known as the wet bulb temperature of the
inlet air.

From the figure above, the spray dryer pump a liquid stream into drying chamber and
separate the solute as solid and the solvent into a vapour. Then, the liquid input stream is
sprayed through a nozzle or atomizer by a hot vapour stream and vaporized. The hot air used is
air or inert gas (nitrogen gas). Air is heated by heating element before it enters the chamber.
After that, the bulk liquid will be converted into droplets or mist though a nozzle. The function
of nozzle is to make droplets as small as possible to maximize heat and mass transfer and rate of
Experiment 5: Spray Dryer | 4SKKK SECTION 04


water vaporization. In common, nozzle size varies from ranges of 20m to 180m. According
to Singh and Dixit (2014), the choice of atomizer depends on the nature and the configuration of
feed a well as desired product characteristic. When the hot air and the droplet contact with each
other, it will evaporate the moisture content of droplet and changes it into powder form. The
dried powder product will be separated by using a cyclone where dense particles are recovered at
the drying chamber base. Drying is finished when the particle temperature is equal to the air
temperature. For industrial based drying process, the spray dryers are equipped with the filters
(bag filters) in order to remove the finest powder. Chemical scrubber is used to remove the
remaining powder or volatile pollutants.
From the result obtained, the average density of the milk particulate powder is
84.734kg/m3. However, it is different with the standard density value of milk which is 1035
kg/m3. The large difference is mainly due to the errors occurring during the experiment. The
solid particles are precipitated at the bottom part of the bottle, and this causes the water cannot
evaporate from the solution effectively. However, the product collected into the small sample cell
for measuring density is not including the wet product, while only dried particulate is taken into
account. Therefore the mass of the particulate is affected. On the other hand, the input
temperature set may not the most suitable for the separation process to happen. Research need to
be done in order to find a more suitable temperature for this experiment. Meanwhile, micropycnometry is not exactly calibrated at zero, due to the fluctuate of the value given by the meter.
Other than that, the major difficulty in spray drying milk solutions is encountered in attempting
the formation of droplets during the spray drying operation. Instead, filaments are usually
formed. These are caused by premature drying of liquid filaments formed near the spray nozzle
before they can be broken up into droplets. Formation of these filaments also results in a
considerable loss of milk during drying because of plastering of the walls of the spray dryer and
incomplete drying of the product.
Using the, the performance of spray drying is calculated which is measured in terms of
thermal efficiency by using temperature measured during the experiment. If the drying process is
assumed to be adiabatic, that is, the heat loss is negligible, the overall thermal efficiency
(overall) can be approximated to the relation:
Experiment 5: Spray Dryer | 4SKKK SECTION 04


T T Ao
overall Ai
T Ai T

where TAi and TAo are the inlet and outlet air temperatures, respectively and

is the ambient

air temperature. The thermal efficiency found in the experiment is 61.14%.

There are some modifications that can be made on the existing system to increase the
recovery percentage of product. By increasing the inlet temperature, the recovery percentage can
be increased. At higher inlet air temperatures, there is a greater temperature gradient between the
atomized feed and drying air and it results the greatest driving force for water evaporation. The
use of higher inlet air temperature leads to the production of larger particles and causes the
higher swelling. If temperature is low, the particle remains more shrunk and smaller. Nijdam
(2006) were obtained the similar results in the production of milk powder at 120C and 200C.
The higher drying temperature is lower the moisture content and increase its hygroscopicity. This
is related to the water concentration gradient between the product and the surrounding air, which
is great for the less moist powder. The increase of inlet temperatures has given the higher process
yield and it was due to the greater efficiency of heat and mass transfer processes occurring when
higher inlet air temperatures were used. When the drying temperature is sufficiently high and the
moisture is evaporated very quickly and the skin becomes dry and hard. As a result, the hollow
particle cannot deflate when vapor condenses within the vacuole as the particle moves into
cooler regions of the dryer. However, when the drying temperature is lower, the skin remains
moist and supple for longer, so that the hollow particle can deflate and shrivel as it cools.
Secondly, the rate of air flow must be at a maximum in all cases. The movement of air is
decided the rate and degree of droplet evaporation by inducing, the passage of spray through the
drying zone and the concentration of product in the region of the dryer walls and finally extent
the semi-dried droplets and thus re-enter the hot areas around the air disperser. A lower drying air
flow rate causes an increase in the product halting time in drying chamber and enforces the
circulatory effects. The effect of drying air flow rate on powder solubility depends on its effect
Experiment 5: Spray Dryer | 4SKKK SECTION 04


on powder moisture content and density of powder. Density variation can arise from temperature
changes and migrating pollution. By using COMSOL multi physics we can able to get the exact
solution which is used for both temperature and concentration changes. The rising of air flow
rate was led to the increased of powder moisture content and decrease in powder solubility
(Papadakis, 1998).
Lastly, at higher atomizer speed, the smaller droplets were produced and more moisture
was evaporated resulting from an increased contact surface.



The objective of this experiment had been achieved as the milk which was fed in liquid
had been evaporated into dry particulates through the spray dryer. The density measured was
84.734 kg/m3 and overall thermal efficiency for the spray dryer was 61.14%. The measured
density of milk is different with the standard value which is 1035 kg/m 3. This may due to some
errors occurred during the experiment. The spray drying system needs to be modified in order to
have better efficiency in recovering products.

Experiment 5: Spray Dryer | 4SKKK SECTION 04


1. Felix Engman, Spray Drying as an Appropriate Technology for the Food and
Pharmaceutical Industries, Journal of Environment Science, Computer Science and
Engineering & Technology,September- November 2012, Vol. 1, No. 3, 467- 476.
2. Dr. Mukesh Gohel, 2009, Spray Dryer:A Review,, retrieved on 27 September
3. V.S Birchal, M.L. Passos, Modeling and simulation of milk emulsion drying in spray
dryers, Brazilian Journal of Chemical Engineering, June 2005, Vol. 22, No. 2, 272284.
4. Phisut. N, Spray drying technique of fruit juice powder: some factors influencing the
properties of products, International Food Research Journal, 2012, 19(4), 1297- 1306.
5. Viviane S. Birchall, M. Laura Passos, Cloria R.S. Wildhagen and Arun. S. Mujumdar,
The Influence of Spray Dryer operation variables on Milk Powder Quality, Drying
2004- Proceedings of the 14th International Symposium (IDS 2004), 22-25 August
2004, vol. A, 389-396.

Experiment 5: Spray Dryer | 4SKKK SECTION 04


6. E.Donz, P. Boiron, J.L Courthaudon, Characterization of industrial dried whey

emulsion at different stages of spray drying, Journal of Food Engineering, 2014, 126,
7. Charles Onwulata, 2005, Spray Drying,,
retrieved on 27 September 2014.
8. Samatha Singh, Deepa Dixit, A review on spray drying: Emerging technology in Food
Industry, International Journal of Applied Engineering and Technology, 2014, Vol.
4(1), 1-8.

Table Appendix 1: Experimental result of calculation of particulate density
Data for calculation of particulate powders density
Total weight (g)
Weight of beaker (g)
Weight of sample (g)
Standard volume, VR (cm3)
Volume of sample cell, Vc (cm )
Total drying time (min)
24 min 40 s

Table Appendix 2: Experimental result of pressure


Test 1
Test 2
Test 3
P1 = Pressure; after applying pressure on the standard density
P2 = Pressure; after taking Vc into account

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Sample calculation
(A) Calculation of volume of particulate powder, Vp (cm3)
V p=V R

[( ) ]

for test 1,
V p=6.28



V p=12.426
(B) Calculation of particulate powders density (kg/m 3)

density , =

mass of particulate powder ( g) 1000 kg

volume of particulate powder (cm ) m

for test 1,

0.675 ( g ) 1000 kg
12.426( cm3 ) m3

=54.321 kg /m

(C) Calculation of thermal efficiency (overall)

overall =

T AiT Ao

( 20093
20025 )

overall =

overall =61.14
Experiment 5: Spray Dryer | 4SKKK SECTION 04


Experiment 5: Spray Dryer | 4SKKK SECTION 04