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Department of

C h e m i c a l
E n g i n e e r i n g
Talamban, Cebu City, Philippines
6 0 0 0



A written design report submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements in the course


Air Pollution Control

Maguikay, Dia Fatima P.

Torrefiel, John Christopher A.

February 27, 201

I. Introduction

The general term used for a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets suspended
in air is particulate matter (PM). Usually, it is generally categorized as “coarse PM” (PM10),
a particle matter having a nominal aerodynamic diameter of 10 micrometer or less, or
“fine PM” (PM2.5), a PM that is less than or equal to 2.5 micrometer in diameter.

The removal of these particles from an effluent gas from a plant before being
discharged to the atmosphere are important to: i. maintain the health of operators in the
plant and of the surrounding population (i.e., inhaling of dust particles mostly in the range
between 0.5 to 3 micrometer), ii. eliminate explosion risks (i.e., carbonaceous materials
and finely powdered metals give rise to explosive mixtures with air), iii. reduce the loss of
valuable materials, and iv. further use the gas itself. In order to separate these suspended
solid particles from the gas, a variety of operations are available including: settling
chambers, centrifugal collectors, bag filters, electrostatic precipitators, and wet collectors.

A wet collector or scrubber is an air pollution control device that removes particulate
matter and acid gases from waste gas streams of a plant. The pollutants are removed
primarily by one or a combination of the following capture mechanisms:

a) Inertial impaction – when waste gas approaches a water droplet, it flows

along streamlines around the droplet. Particles with sufficient inertial force
maintain their forward trajectory and impact the droplet. Due to their mass,
particles with diameter of >10 micrometer are generally collected using
b) Direct interception – particles dominated by fluid drag forces follow the
streamlines of the waste gas. However, particles that pass sufficiently close
to a water droplet are capture by interception or capture due to the surface
tension of the water droplet. Particles with diameter of ~1.0 to 0.1
micrometer are subject to this mechanism;

c) Diffusion – sub-micron particles do not flow in streamlines but wobble
randomly due to collisions with gas molecules. Random Brownian motion
causes incidental contact between the particle and the droplet and the
particles are captured by the water droplets as they diffuse through the
waste gas. Collection due to diffusion is most significant for particles <0.5
micrometer in diameter;
d) Electrostatic attraction – contact is enhanced by placing an electrostatic
charge on the particle, droplet, or both; and
e) Condensation – a gas stream is saturated with water vapor and the particle
is captured when the water condenses on the particle.

Compared to other devices such as electrostatic precipitators (ESPs) and bag

filters, wet collectors are smaller and more compact. They also have lower capital cost
and comparable operation and maintenance (O&M) costs. However, with an increased
collection efficiency comes at the cost of increased pressure drop across the control
system. Also, they are limited to lower waste gas flow rates and temperatures over ESPs
or bag filters. Another disadvantage is that they generate waste in the form of a sludge
which requires additional treatment/disposal steps and downstream corrosion or plume
visibility problems may result.

Wet collectors have numerous industrial applications including industrial boilers,

incinerators, metals processing, chemical production, and asphalt production, and
fertilizer production.

The different types of wet collectors are the following:

a) Spray Towers
 Particulate-laden air passes into a chamber where it contacts a liquid spray
produced by spray nozzles. These towers can be placed either vertical or
horizontal waste gas flow paths. The liquid spray can be directed in
countercurrent, co-current, or perpendicular to the gas flow.
b) Cyclonic Spray Towers
 Unlike spray towers, the waste gas stream flows through the chamber in a
cyclonic motion produced by positioning the gas inlet tangential to the wall

of the scrubbing chamber or by placing turning vanes with the scrubbing
chamber. The gas inlet is tapered so that the gas velocity increases as it
enters the tower. The scrubbing liquid is sprayed from nozzles in a central
pipe or from the top of the tower.
c) Dynamic Scrubbers
 Also known as mechanically-aided scrubbers or disintegrator scrubbers are
similar to spray towers, but with the addition of a power-driven rotor that
shears the scrubbing liquid into finely dispersed droplets. The rotor can be
located inside the tower or outside the tower, connected by a duct. A mist
eliminator or cyclonic separator removes the liquid and captured particulate
matter. Most dynamic scrubber systems humidify the waste gas upstream
of the rotor to reduce evaporation and particle deposition in the rotor area;
d) Tray Towers
 Consist of a vertical tower with several perforated trays mounted
horizontally n the tower. Gas enters the tower at the bottom and travels
upward through opening in the trays, while the scrubbing liquid flows from
the top and across each tray. The gas mixes with the liquid flowing over the
tray, providing more gas-liquid contact; and
e) Venturi Scrubbers
 Have a converging-diverging flow channel wherein the cross-sectional area
of the channel decreases then increases along the length of the channel.
The narrowest area is called the throat. In the converging section, the
decrease in area causes the waste gas velocity and turbulence to increase.
The scrubbing liquid is injected into the scrubber slightly upstream of the
throat or directly into the throat section. The scrubbing liquid is atomized by
the turbulence in the throat thus improving gas-liquid contact.
f) Orifice Scrubber
 The gas stream flows over the surface of a pool of scrubbing liquid. As the
gas impinges on the waster surface, it entrains droplets of the liquid. The
waste gas then flows upward and enters an orifice with a narrower opening
than the duct. The orifice induces turbulence in the flow which atomizes the

entrained droplets. The atomized droplets capture the particulate matter in
the gas stream. A series of baffles then removes the droplets, which fall into
the liquid pool below.
g) Packed Tower Scrubber
 Towers that contain a bed of packing material that provides a large wetted
surface for gas-liquid contact. Scrubbing liquid is introduced at the top of
the tower and flows down through the packing, coating the packing and
forming a thin film.
h) Condensation Scrubber
 The particles act as condensation nuclei for the formation of water droplets.
First, the gas stream is saturated with water vapor or steam may be injected
to further increase the humidity ratio. The injection of water vapor and/or
steam creates a condition of super-saturation leading to the condensation
of water on particles in the gas stream. The droplets are then removed by
a conventional device such as a mist eliminator.

II. Design Problem

A packed column is designed to absorb ammonia from a gas stream. Given the
operating conditions and type of packing, calculate the height of packing and column

Gas mass flow rate = 5000lb/h

NH3 concentration in inlet gas stream = 2.0 mol%
Scrubbing liquid = pure water
Packing factor, F = 160
HOG of the column = 2.5 ft
Henry’s law constant m = 1.20
Density of gas (air), ρa = 0.075 lb/ft3
Density of water, ρw = 64.4 lb/ft3
Viscosity of water = 1.8 cP

III. Design Operation and Assumptions

The unit operates at 60% of the flooding gas velocity; the actual liquid flow rate is
25% more than the minimum and 90% of the ammonia must be collected to meet state

Pure water y2


Contaminated gas stream

x1 y1=0.02

Z = packed column height

D = column diameter
y1 = inlet gas composition
y2 = outlet gas composition
x1 = outlet liquid composition
x2 = inlet liquid composition

IV. Design Calculations

Packed Column Height, Z

The height of the packed column can be calculated using the HTU/NTU equation
presented in Eq.1

𝑍 = (𝑁𝑂𝐺 )(𝐻𝑂𝐺 ) Eq.1

Z = height of the packing
HOG = height of overall gas transfer unit
NOG = number of transfer units

Given the HOG, the NOG should be determined in order to calculate the height of the
packing Z. NOG is a function of the liquid and gas flowrates and can be estimated using
the Colburn chart presented in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Colburn chart (Theodore, 2008)

The inlet and outlet concentrations for both the gas and liquid streams, and the molar
liquid flow rate to molar gas flow rate ratio (Lm/Gm) must be determined to use the Colburn
chart. The minimum Lm/Gm can be calculated using Eq. 2.
𝐿𝑚 𝑦1 − 𝑦2 Eq. 2
( ) = ∗
𝐺𝑚 𝑚𝑖𝑛 𝑥1 − 𝑥2

Using Henry’s Law to calculate the equilibrium outlet concentration x1* at y1=0.02:
𝑦1 Eq. 3
𝑥1∗ =
𝑥1∗ =
𝑥1∗ = 0.0167

Given that state regulations require 90% ammonia removal, only 10% of the ammonia will
remain in the outlet gas stream. Therefore;
0.1𝑦1 Eq. 4
𝑦2 =
[(1 − 𝑦1 ) + (0.1)𝑦1 ]
𝑦2 =
[(1 − 0.02) + (0.1)(0.02)]
𝑦2 = 0.00204
Substituting the values into Eq. 2, the minimum Lm/Gm ratio is determined
𝐿𝑚 0.02 − 0.00204
( ) =
𝐺𝑚 𝑚𝑖𝑛 0.167 − 0
( ) = 1.08
𝐺𝑚 𝑚𝑖𝑛
Based on the operating conditions, the actual liquid flow rate is 25% higher than the
minimum value. Therefore, the actual molar liquid flow rate to gas flow rate is
𝐿𝑚 𝐿𝑚
( ) = 1.25 ( )
𝐺𝑚 𝐺𝑚 𝑚𝑖𝑛
( ) = (1.25)(1.08)
( ) = 1.35

𝐺𝑚 1.20
∴ 𝑚( )= = 0.889
𝐿𝑚 1.35
The value of abscissa in the Colburn chart was calculated using
𝑦1 − 𝑚𝑥2 [(0.02) − (1.20)(0)]
𝑦2 − 𝑚𝑥2 [(0.00204 − (1.20)(0)]
𝑦1 − 𝑚𝑥2
= 9.80
𝑦2 − 𝑚𝑥2
Using this values, the value of the number of transfer units (NOG) was estimated, from the
Colburn chart;
𝑁𝑂𝐺 = 6.2
Substituting the values into Eq. 1, the height of the packed column was calculated
𝑍 = (6.2)(2.5 𝑓𝑡)
𝒁 = 𝟏𝟓. 𝟓 𝒇𝒕

Packed Column Diameter, D

To calculate the column diameter, the flooding gas mass velocity needs to be determined.
The Sherwood-Eckert generalized flooding and pressure drop correlation chart is used to
determine the gas mass velocity. This chart is presented in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Generalized flooding and pressure drop correlation (Piché, Larachi, & Grandjean,

The abscissa of the generalized flooding and pressure drop correlation chart was
determined using Eq. 5.
𝐿 𝜌𝑎 0.5 𝐿𝑚 18 𝜌𝑔 0.5 Eq. 5
( )( ) = ( )( )( )
𝐺 𝜌𝑤 𝐺𝑚 29 𝜌𝐿
𝐿 𝜌𝑎 0.5 18 0.075 0.5
( ) ( ) = (1.35) ( ) ( )
𝐺 𝜌𝑤 29 62.4
𝐿 𝜌𝑎 0.5
( ) ( ) = 0.0291
𝐺 𝜌𝑤

Using the abscissa calculated, the ordinate of the generalized flooding and pressure drop
correlation chart at the flooding curve was determined. From Figure 2;
𝐺 2 𝐹𝜓(𝜇𝐿 )0.2 Eq. 6
= 0.19
𝜌𝑤 𝜌𝑎 𝑔𝑐
Manipulating Eq. 6 to determine the flooding gas mass velocity, Gf, the equation becomes
Eq. 7
0.19(𝜌𝑤 𝜌𝑎 𝑔𝑐 )
𝐺𝑓 = √
𝐹𝜓(𝜇𝐿 )0.2

0.19(62.4 )(0.075)(32.2)
𝐺𝑓 = √

𝐺𝑓 = 0.400
𝑓𝑡 2 ∙ 𝑠
Given that the unit operates at 60% of the flooding gas velocity, the actual gas mass
velocity was calculated
𝐺𝑎𝑐𝑡 = 0.6𝐺𝑓 Eq. 8
𝐺𝑎𝑐𝑡 = (0.6)(0.400)
𝑙𝑏 60𝑠
𝐺𝑎𝑐𝑡 = (0.0.240 2
)( )
𝑓𝑡 ∙ 𝑠 1ℎ
𝐺𝑎𝑐𝑡 = 864
𝑓𝑡 2 ∙ ℎ
The gas mass velocity is obtained by dividing the mass flow rate by the cross-sectional
area S, therefore

𝑚𝑎𝑠𝑠 𝑓𝑙𝑜𝑤 𝑟𝑎𝑡𝑒 𝑜𝑓 𝑔𝑎𝑠 𝑠𝑡𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑚 5000 Eq. 9
𝑆= =
𝐺𝑎𝑐𝑡 𝐺𝑎𝑐𝑡
𝜋𝐷2 Eq. 10

Equating Eq. 9 and Eq. 10

𝜋𝐷 2 5000
4 𝐺𝑎𝑐𝑡
(4)(5000) (4) (5000 )
𝐷=√ =√ ℎ
𝜋𝐺𝑎𝑐𝑡 𝑙𝑏
𝜋(864 2 )
𝑓𝑡 ∙ ℎ
𝑫 = 𝟐. 𝟕𝟏 𝒇𝒕

V. Conclusions

With the given operating conditions, the height and diameter of the packed column
scrubber must be equal to 15.5 ft. and 2.71 ft., respectively, in order to meet the 90 %
ammonia removal set by state regulations.

VI. References
Piché, S., Larachi, F., & Grandjean, B. P. A. (2001). Loading capacity in packed towers -
Database, correlations and analysis. Chemical Engineering and Technology, 24(4), 373–

Theodore, L. (2008). Air Pollution Control Equipment Calculations. New Jersey: John Wiley &
Sons, Inc.