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E-220; Mass Transfer
Lecture 2 Mass Transfer Operations

Presented By Shahid Hussain Ansari Lecturer, Chemical Engineering Deptt. School of Chemical & Materials Engineering (SCME) National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST)
SCME, NUST February 8, 2012

Mass transfer

Mass transfer deals with the transfer of one or more components from one phase to another because of conc. gradient and caused by the application of a separating agent .


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Types of mass transfer operations
Mostly used mass transfer operations are : • Distillation • Absorption • Liq-Liq extraction • Leaching • Ion-exchange • Adsorption • Desorption • Membrane Separation • Dialysis & electro dialysis
SCME, NUST February 8, 2012

• Distillation is a technique to separate by

vaporization a liquid mixture of volatile and miscible substance into individual components • Separation of constituents is based upon difference in volatility Examples: • Separation of the mixture of alcohol and water into its constituents • Liquid air into nitrogen, oxygen and argon • Crude petroleum into gasoline, kerosene, high quality diesel oil and lubricating oil etc
SCME, NUST February 8, 2012

NUST February 8.Equilibrium Staged Operation SCME. 2012 .

NUST February 8.Multiple Equilibrium Staged Operation SCME. 2012 .

NUST February 8.An Ideal Stage T2 T1 • Purpose of a separation process is to increase product purity and quality • Flash distillation cannot always satisfy this purpose • Pressure remains constant in each stage SCME. 2012 .

Multiple Stages SCME. NUST February 8. 2012 .

2012 .Gas Absorption • In gas absorption. a soluble vapor is absorbed by means of liquid Examples: • Washing of ammonia from mixture of ammonia and air by means of liquid water • Removal of gaseous hydrogen sulfide or carbon dioxide and mercaptans from natural gas or synthesis gas in fertilizer industry or thermal power plants SCME. NUST February 8.

Plate Absorption Column SCME. NUST February 8. 2012 .

.Two methods of contacting the gas and liquid are possible: SCME. NUST February 8. 2012 counter-current operation and co-current operation.

Liquid – Liquid Extraction • Liq-liq extraction involves the treatment of a mixture by a solvent that preferentially dissolves one or more of the components in the mixture Examples: • Petroleum refining: removes heavy aromatic compounds • Metallurgy: concentrating the metal • Fats & oils processing: recovery of oil from residues by mechanical pressing. 2012 . SCME. NUST February 8.

NUST February 8.(a) Packed-tower extractor (b) Perforated-tray extractor SCME. 2012 .

NUST February 8. 2012 .Leaching • In leaching soluble matter is dissolved from its mixture with an inert solid by means of a liquid solvent Examples: • Industrially used in the manufacture of instant coffee to recover the soluble coffee from grounds • Extraction of oil from soya beans using hexane as solvent • Recovery of uranium from low grade ores by extraction with sulfuric acid or sodium carbonate solution SCME.

Selection criteria for mass transfer operations When faced with the problem of separating components out of homogeneous mixture THE CHEMICAL ENGINEER should bring the following factors under consideration: • Phase characteristics • Diffirence in properties of the mixture • Cost & availability of the process & construction material • Energy requirements SCME. 2012 . NUST February 8.

the most commonly used MT operation is ABSORPTION • When the constituents of a solid are to be separated the simplest MT operation is LEACHING SCME.Phase characteristics • The primary difference between the various stage operations is the nature of the two phases involved in each operation • When the initial phase is the liquid. NUST February 8. 2012 . then the possible MT operations are DISTILLATION & LIQ-LIQ EXTRACTION • When the starting phase is a gas .

consideration should be given to the diff. because greater difference in a property will generally permit an easier separation Distillation & LLE both can be used for separating components of the liquids. So when a choice is to be made b/w the two. in physical & chemical properties SCME. 2012 .Difference in properties of a mixture The various chemical and physical properties of the constituents of the mixture are examined to determine which properties offer the greatest difference among components. NUST February 8.

may be separated by extraction which utilizes chemical difference instead of vapor pressure differences. For close boiling liquids where diff in volatility is not appreciable LLE is preferred which makes use of the difference in solubility instead of volatility. 2012 . SCME.• If the diff. in relative volatility is well above unity . NUST February 8.the choice is distillation. • Substance which cannot withstand the temperature of distillation even under vacuum.

NUST February 8. SCME.Economics When either distillation or extraction may be used. In extraction the solvent must be recovered for reuse (usually by distillation) and the combined operation is much more expensive than ordinary distillation. 2012 . the choice is usually distillation in spite of the fact that heating and cooling are needed.

Equipment selection SCME. 2012 . NUST February 8.

2012 . Multistage operations permit greater changes in the composition of SCME. The resultant phases are assumed to be at equilibrium therefore have diff compositions from initial phases the physical characteristics of the phases themselves. NUST two phases that can be accomplished in a single stage February 8.Stage concept  A stage may be defined as a unit of equipment in which dissimilar phases are brought into intimate contact with each other separated  During & contact various diffusing components of mixture redistribute themselves b/w phases. degree of separation possible and economic feasibility  Equipment for mixing and separating the two phases depend upon  Some industrial equipments may consist of a single stage but more often multistage units are employed with countercurrent flow.

NUST February 8. However. 2012 .Distillation equipments Distillation is mostly carried out in columns fitted with trays /plates. sometimes packed columns can also be employed for the distillation process SCME.

such systems must processed in plate columns • For side stream removal and fluctuating feed loads. NUST February 8. the plate columns are employed • Problem of liquid distribution in a columns is usually avoided by using the tray towers SCME.Plate columns Plate columns are used when: • Have to operate over wide range of liquid flow rates • Working under stressed conditions of temperature variations and pressure • Working with dirty fluids having solid particles • Plate towers are preferred if inter-stage cooling or heating is required • Systems which contain sludge & fats. 2012 .

Types of trays used in tray columns Different types of plates/trays are used in tray columns for gas/liquid contact. Some of them are as follows: • Bubble cap tray • Sieve tray/perforated plates • Valve trays SCME. 2012 . NUST February 8.

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2 Bubble cap trays 2. NUST . 2012 SCME.0 Lowest Lowest Highest 1.0 Intermediate Highest Highest Highest Highest Lowest February 8.Tray Comparison Sieve trays Valve trays Relative cost Pressure drop Efficiency Vapor capacity 1.

Packed Column Packed columns are generally less expensive & have lower pressure drop than plate columns Packed columns are best option for distillation whenever: • The separation is easy • The required column dia. 2012 . is not very large because packed columns tends to be less expensive than plate columns for small column diameter • Corrosive chemical handling is required. NUST February 8. using cheap ceramic packing material • Handling of foaming liquids is desirable • Vacuum operation is to be carried out • Short delivery requirements SCME.

NUST February 8.Packing Material • The packing material increases the interfacial area and considerably increase the mass transfer rate compared with that obtained in spray columns • They are satisfactorily used in petroleum industry but can’t be used in metallurgical processes bcoz of very high flow rates encountered SCME. 2012 .

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2012 .Packed towers can’t be used for: • Dirty fluids or suspensions • High viscosity fluids • High liquid flow rates SCME. NUST February 8.

Equipments for gas absorption The same plate and packed towers are used for gas/liquid contacting in gas absorption .The merits and demerits being the same as for distillation operation SCME. NUST February 8. 2012 .

SCME. NUST February 8. • Stage wise contactors These equipment includes a series of physical stages in which the phases are mixed and separated. • Differential contactors In which the phases are continuously brought into contact with complete phase separation only at the exit from the unit.Liquid-liquid extraction equipments • Essentially there are two types of design by which effective multistage operation may be obtained. 2012 .

2012 . NUST February 8.Differential contacting equipments are: • Spray columns • Packed columns • Perforated or sieve plate columns • Centrifugal extractors SCME.

NUST February 8.Stage wise equipments include : • Mixing settler • Baffle plate columns SCME. 2012 .

2012 . NUST February 8. SCME.Spray columns • They are simple in construction • There are two methods of operating spray columns: • Lighter phase may be dispersed and heavier is continuous. but if there is significant difference in viscosities. • Heavier phase may be dispersed and lighter is continuous. • The phase with higher flow rates may be dispersed to give a greater interfacial area. more viscous phase may be dispersed to give high settling rate.

Disadvantages of spray columns:They are inefficient and poor in performance because of the reasons: • Considerable recirculation of the continuous phase takes place and true counter current flow is not maintained • Little turbulence in continuous phase and lack of interphase renewal • Limit to the amount of dispersed phase that can pass through tower for given flow rate of continuous phase may cause flooding. NUST February 8. SCME. 2012 .

2012 . settling is very slow so that centrifuge may be needed. • In this unit mixing and separation stages are contained in the same unit which operates as a differential contactor.Centrifugal extractors • If phase densities are nearly equal. • Centrifuge supplies force that is much greater than the force of gravity. NUST February 8. • They have advantages of providing many theoretical contacts in a small space and for very short hold-up times so that they are valuable in the extraction of sensitive products such as vitamins and antibiotic. SCME. • Centrifugal extractors are expensive and find limited use.

although thorough mixing is desirable. after thorough mixing the two phase mixture is passed to a settling tank where the phases are allowed to separate by gravity settling. • They are also successfully employed in metal extraction processes. an emulsion that cannot be separated by gravity settling may form if mixing is too vigorous. NUST February 8. SCME.Mixing settler • Mechanical mixers are used to disperse the phases more thoroughly than is possible in a sieve tray column. • The degree o f mixing is independently variable by changing the speed and shape of the impeller . • Mixer settlers are used purification of uranium in nuclear energy industry. 2012 .

NUST February 8. 2012 .Thank You Shahid Hussain Ansari E-mail: +923336175398 SCME.