Drying of Multicomponent Liquid Films
Abstract: The convective drying of thin layers of multicomponentliquid mixtures into an inert gas, and the influence ofdifferent process controlling mechanisms on drying selectivityis studied. Drying experiments under gas-phase-controlledconditions are performed by low intensity evaporation, fromfree liquid surfaces, of ternary mixtures without non-volatilesolutes. Liquid-side-controlled experiments are carried out bydrying a multicomponent polymeric solution containing twovolatile components, one non-volatile polymer and an optionalnonvolatile softening substance.Mathematical models to describe gas- andliquid-side-controlled drying based on interactive diffusion inboth liquid and gas phases as the main mechanisms for masstransfer are developed. For gas-phase-controlled drying, astability analysis of the ordinary differential equations thatdescribes the evaporation process is performed. Isothermal andnon-isothermal drying processes are considered in batch andcontinuous modes. The mathematical model to describe thecomposition profiles during batch drying of the polymeric film,considering liquid resistance, is solved numerically. Due tothe lack of experimental data, properties for this polymericsystem are estimated by using established methods. Ananalytical solution of the diffusion equation, by assuming anisothermal drying process and a constant matrix ofmulticomponent diffusion coefficients is developed. For thecontinuous case, liquid-side resistance is studied by modellingevaporation of a multicomponent falling liquid film into aninert gas including indirect heating.The results of the gas-phase-controlled model are in goodagreement with experimental results. For the polymeric film,the agreement is only qualitative since the model does notaccount for a membrane that develops on the film surface. Thestability analysis permits the prediction of trajectories andfinal state of a liquid mixture in a gas-phase-controlleddrying process. For isothermal evaporation of ternary mixturesinto pure gas, the solutions are trajectories in the phaseplane represented by a triangular diagram of compositions. Thepredicted ternary dynamic azeotropic points are unstable orsaddle. On the other hand, binary azeotropes are stable whenthe combination of the selectivities of the correspondingcomponents is negative. In addition, pure component singularpoints are stable when they are contained within theirrespective isolated negative selectivity zones. Undernon-isothermal conditions, maximum temperature valuescharacterise stable azeotropes. Incremental loading of the gaswith one or more of the components leads to a node-saddlebifurcation, where a saddle azeotrope and a stable azeotropecoalesce and disappear. For continuous drying, the singularpoints are infinite and represent dynamic equilibrium pointswhose stability is mainly dependent on the ratio of inletgas-to-liquid flow rates. As long as the process isgas-phasecontrolled, these results also apply to a porous solidcontaining a liquid mixture.In general, liquid-side control makes the drying processless selective but it is difficult to maintain this conditionduring the whole process. Under the influence of its owndynamics, a process starting as liquid-side-controlled tendstowards a gas-phase-controlled process. The presence ofnon-volatile components and indirect heating may delay thisdevelopment. Considering the evolution of the processcontrolling steps and its influence on selectivity, a modelaimed at describing the complete trajectory of a drying orevaporation process must include the coexistence of allrelevant mechanisms.Keywords:ternary mixture, falling film, diffusionequation, gas-phase control, liquid-phase control, selectivity,stability analysis, polymeric solution, evaporation, azeotrope,batch drying, continuous drying.
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