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An alternative to stage wise equipment: The idea is to fill a column with solid packing: - The packing shaped to provide liquid-vapour mass transfer area - There is no discrete and identifiable stages - Liquid and vapour are continuously contacted - Mass exchange tends to bring the two phases to equilibrium.

**Mass transfer operations in packed towers
**

Gas outlet Liquid inlet

Liquid outlet

Gas inlet

Mass transfer operations in packed towers

Materials: • metal • plastic • ceramic Choice of materials depend on the corrosiveness of the system and the cost of the material

**Mass transfer operations in packed towers
**

Tray operations

• Surface area for mass transfer: Bubble/liquid interface • Equilibrium: Vapour and liquid phases leaving a stage are assumed to be in equilibrium; non-equilibrium is accounted for with stage efficiencies • Operating points are given by set of (

xn , yn +1 )

Packed operations

• Surface area for mass transfer: Surface area for packing • Equilibrium: Vapour and liquid are not at equilibrium; non-equilibrium provides the force for mass transfer

ceramics.g. . e. for vacuum distillation • Lower capital cost if the diameter (function of vapour flow rate) is less than 0.g.6 m. • Can be made of corrosion resistant material.Mass transfer operations in packed towers Advantages of packed columns • Lower pressure drop for the gas phase. e.

Mass transfer operations in packed towers Advantages of plate columns over packed columns: • More economical at higher vapour flow rates (i. • More suitable for highly exothermic/endothermic operations (easier to fit heat transfer surface).e. • More suitable for large numbers of theoretical stages (because of redistribution issue). . diameter). • Better for highly fouling conditions (if the column size allows for man-way access for cleaning). • Better for large fluctuations of temperature (leading to packing attrition).

Absorption in packed towers design principles 5. Mass-transfer coefficients 4.Mass transfer operations in packed towers 1. Absorption principles (in this lecture and in online notes) 2. Design of absorption in packed towers: complete cycle . Mass-transfer fundamentals 3.

CO2.Benzene.NH3 is removed from oven gas by water . toluene are removed from natural gas using hydrocarbon oil .Absorption Gas absorption is a process in which a gas mixture is in placed in contact with a liquid for the purpose of preferential dissolving of one or more components of the gas mixture Examples: . H2S are removed from natural gas using water solutions of alkaline salts .

Equilibrium relations for dilute solutions: solubility .The maximum amount of the gas that can be dissolved in a solvent at specific conditions (T.P) is called solubility .

one (A) is volatile and the second one (B) is a non-volatile solvent. which has pressure P. This characteristics can be measured for a range of binary systems under different P.Absorption: Thermodynamics of the process Imagine a system where we have a binary mixture of two components A and B. The concentration of the volatile component A in solvent B is called solubility of A in B at P. the energy supplied in the system will be used to evaporate more of the volatile component A. T . In general solubility decreases with temperature. the system will be in equilibrium. So if we place a piston on the top of the system. The mixture coexists with an equilibrium gas of almost pure volatile component. exerting pressure P. it is natural to guess that if we heat the system up. T. P.T conditions.

Henry’s law applies pi = H (T ) xi . In many cases the system can be described with simplified relations If ideal gas is in equilibrium with ideal mixture we can apply the following expression to find partial pressures of the components: P. Each component can be characterized with it’s own solubility under these conditions (composition.Thermodynamics of the process: Multicomponent mixture Now we deal with a jar where a number of components is dissolved in the solvent and also forms and equilibrium gas mixture. T pi = Pxi If ideal gas is in equilibrium with non-ideal mixture. P. In general these solubilities (and other properties of the systems) must be described using methods of multicomponent phase equilibria (or measured experimentally). T).

where A does not ionize. dissociate or react in the liquid phase For water H [atm/mole fraction] .Equilibrium relations for dilute solutions: Henry’s law p A = H (T ) x A Henry’s law is valid for dilute solutions.

dissociate or react in the liquid phase For water H [atm/mole fraction] . where A does not ionize.Equilibrium relations for dilute solutions: Henry’s law p A = Py A = H (T ) x A Henry’s law is valid for dilute solutions.

Equilibrium relations for dilute solutions: Solubility data .

temperature and pressure Design objective 2. Desired degree of separation 3. Type of absorber specifications 5.Low cost .Low viscosity . Heat/cooling requirements Technical 4.Low volatility .Low corrosiveness . non-explosive 1. Choice of solvent: Thermophysical .High gas solubility characteristics . Minimum solvent flow rate -> actual solvent flow rate Basic design elements 2. Entering gas composition flow rate.Non-toxic.Absorption: General design considerations 1. Number of equilibrium stages 3. Geometrical parameters of the system/economy .

Absorption: Design considerations (mole fraction of A in V) y Operating line yb equilibrium line y* = f ( xA ) A y * = H (T ) x A / P A Equilibrium line ya xa xb x*b x (mole fraction of A in L) .

Absorption: Design considerations (mole fraction of A in V) The driving force for mass transfer yb y equilibrium line ya xa xn xb x*b x (mole fraction of A in L) .

1-1.5 times) ya xa xb x*b x (mole fraction of A in L) . (mole fraction of A in V) y yb equilibrium line The actual solvent flow is usually calculated a multiple of (L/V)min (1. although in an infinite number of stages. This is the lowest flow of solvent possible in the system to achieve the desired separation.Absorption: Design considerations Limiting conditions: gas-liquid ratio This condition is called the limiting (L/V)min ratio.

straight operating line Condition: L.Absorption: Design considerations Limiting conditions: Gas-liquid ratio. V constant -> L/V constant (mole fraction of A in V) This is possible for very dilute (<5% mole fraction) mixtures so change in total number of moles of each flow is insignificant A) Limiting (L/V)min value: y yb equilibrium line y − ya L = b * V min xb − xa ya xa xb x*b x (mole fraction of A in L) .

Operations in packed towers: Mass transfer theories A Liquid B Gas mole fraction y x mole fraction Liquid Gas xi x y yi Mass transfer of A .

Operations in packed towers: Mass transfer theories Two film theory: resistance to the overall mass transfer is viewed as a combined resistance of liquid and gas films at the interface mole fraction Liquid Gas xi x y yi Mass transfer of A .

Operations in packed towers: Mass transfer theories mole fraction Liquid Gas xi x yi y (mole fraction of A in V) Mass transfer rate (per unit area) y equilibrium line r = k y y − yi i x [ r = k [x ] − x] y yi x xi (mole fraction of A in L) x .

Operations in packed towers: Mass transfer theories mole fraction Liquid Gas xi x yi y (mole fraction of A in V) Mass transfer rate (per unit area) y equilibrium line r = k y y − yi i x [ r = k [x ] − x] y yi x xi (mole fraction of A in L) x .

Operations in packed towers: Mass transfer theories y Mass transfer rate (per unit area) equilibrium line [ r = K [x x r = K y y − y* * −x ] ] y yi y* x xi x* x (mole fraction of A in L) .

Operations in packed towers: Mass transfer theories mole fraction A Liquid x y* C Gas mixture C is in equilibrium with the liquid system A: y * = H (T ) x (in Henry’s law regime) .

Operations in packed towers: Mass transfer theories mole fraction A Liquid Gas B xi x y y* C y Mass transfer rate (per unit area) equilibrium line [ r = K [x x r = K y y − y* * −x ] ] y yi y* x xi x* x (mole fraction of A in L) .

Operations in packed towers: Mass transfer theories mole fraction A Liquid xi x Gas B y y* C y Mass transfer rate (per unit area) equilibrium line [ r = K [x x r = K y y − y* * −x ] ] y yi y* x xi x* x (mole fraction of A in L) .

Operations in packed towers: Mass transfer theories 1 1 = + i K y kx (x − x ) k y 1 m 1 = + K y kx k y Resistance of gas film Resistance of liquid film Overall gas resistance y i − y* y equilibrium line y yi y * m x xi x* x (mole fraction of A in L) .

Operations in packed towers: Mass transfer theories 1 1 1 = + K x k x mk y Resistance of gas film Resistance of liquid film Overall liquid resistance y equilibrium line y yi y* x xi x* x (mole fraction of A in L) .

in the opposite situation when solubility is very high. the gas film resistance is controlling .when coefficients ky and kx are of the same order of magnitude and m is much greater then 1 the liquid phase resistance is controlling .Operations in packed towers: Mass transfer theories 1 m 1 = + K y kx k y Resistance of gas film Resistance of liquid film Overall gas resistance .

yb Lb. For diluted gases the change in flow rates is neglected Consider a mass transfer process in a section of the column dZ (cross-section of the column is S) Va.Absorption in packed towers Consider an absorption column.xb S .ya La.xa Z − Vdy = K y a( y − y*)SdZ Integration leads to: yb dZ K y aS V ∫ dZ = 0 Z K y aS V Z= ya ∫ dy y − y* Vb.

This property is called the number of transfer units (NTU) Vb.Absorption in packed towers V /S Z= K ya yb ya yb ya ∫ dy y − y* Va.xa Z ∫ dy y − y* change in the concentration divided by driving force.ya La. is constant for constant L/V and is called the height of transfer units (HTU) S .xb V /S K ya This property has units of length.yb Lb.

yb Lb.xb S .xa V /S Z= K ya ∫ a b Z dy = H Oy N Oy y − y* Vb.Absorption in packed towers Va.ya La.

Absorption in packed towers To understand the meaning of these definitions consider a specific case when both the equilibrium and operating lines are straight and parallel The driving force is then constant throughout the process and can be moved outside the integral. leading to: y equilibrium line operating line N Oy yb − y a = y − y* yb ya xa xb (mole fraction of A in L) x .

Absorption in packed towers To understand the meaning of these definitions consider a specific case when both the equilibrium and operating lines are straight and parallel The driving force is then constant throughout the process and can be moved outside the integral. leading to: y equilibrium line operating line N Oy yb − y a = y − y* yb Similar to the number of stages in the tray process ya xa xb (mole fraction of A in L) x .

Absorption in packed towers V /S Z= K ya ∫ a b dy = H Oy N Oy y − y* V /S K ya HTU (Hoy) is the height of packing required to achieve one separation step y equilibrium line operating line N Oy yb − y a = y − y* yb Similar to the number of stages in the tray process ya xa xb (mole fraction of A in L) x .

Absorption in packed towers V /S Z= K ya N Oy = y yb ∫ a b dy = H Oy N Oy y − y* y y ya ∫ b b dy dy 1 =∫ = ∫ dy = y − y * ya y − y * y − y * ya 1 b y − ya dy = b ∫ ∆y ya ∆y * * [ yb − yb ] − [ y a − y a ] ∆y = * y b − yb ln * ya − ya Simplification using average driving force notion Average driving force calculated as logarithmic mean of driving forces at the top and bottom of the column .

V/S=20mol/h/ft2.Absorption in packed towers: Example Example: A gas stream of 3.0% A is passed through a packed column to remove 99% of A by absorption in water. The absorber operates at 25C and 1 atm. L/S=100mol/h/ft2 y*=3.1x kxa=60mol/h/ft3 kya=15mol/h/ft3 Find Noy. Hoy ZT neglecting changes in the gas and liquid flow .

Absorption in packed towers: effect of pressure Consider the effect of pressure on the equilibrium distribution of the volatile component: y = H (T ) x / P Henry’s law y equilibrium line P=1bar P=2bar x (mole fraction of A in L) .

at higher pressure we need fewer stages yb ya xa xb (mole fraction of A in L) * xb x .Absorption in packed towers: effect of pressure Consider the effect of pressure on the equilibrium distribution of the volatile component: y = H (T ) x / P Henry’s law y P=1bar P=2bar If the L/V ratio remains the same .

lower L/V ratio .lower pressure leads to more efficient desorption (stripping) ya xa xb (mole fraction of A in L) * xb x .higher pressure leads to more efficient absorption .Absorption in packed towers: effect of pressure Consider the effect of pressure on the equilibrium distribution of the volatile component: y = H (T ) x / P If the L/V is changed .less solvent required Henry’s law y P=1bar P=2bar yb .

L/V constant -> the slope of the operating lines for all components is the same .for dilute mixtures.Absorption processes Multicomponent absorption .separate equilibrium and operating lines .

Absorption processes Multicomponent absorption . L/V constant -> the slope of the operating lines for all components is the same .separate equilibrium and operating lines .for dilute mixtures.

Can be used to obtain a more complete removal of a component from the mixture • NH3 from air by using dilute acid solution • CO2 from natural gas by using dilute basic solution N Oy = yb ya ∫ b yb dy dy =∫ = ln y − y * ya y ya y Irreversible reaction .Absorption processes with chemical reactions .

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