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Publication Title | THE MECHANISMS INVOLVED IN PROCESS INTENSIFICATION

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THE MECHANISMS INVOLVED IN PROCESS INTENSIFICATION

OBJECTIVES IN THIS CHAPTER

A wide range of unit operations are capable of intensification. In this chapter some of the more important intensification techniques are briefly discussed, in order to prepare the reader for the more detailed treatment provided in subsequent chapters.

3.1 INTRODUCTION

A general characteristic of the process industry is that it deals with a wide range of multi-phase systems. Indeed, about two thirds of the unit operations fall into this category. Thus we have gas and/or liquid operations:

● Boiling

● Condensation

● Absorption

● Distillation

● Mist disengagement

● Electrolysis/fuel cells (where a gas phase is generated or consumed).

And solid and/or fluid operations:

● Fluidisation

● Dust disengagement

● Filtration.

The fluid dynamics of all these operations is controlled by the buoyancy term ∆ρg. If either ρ or g is zero, the system is controlled by surface forces. Under these condi- tions counter-current flow of the phases cannot occur, coalescence is suppressed and the droplet or bubble size becomes very large. In the absence of interfacial shear, heat and mass transfer coefficients are severely reduced. A good demonstration of this state of affairs is given by the Astro lamp (or Lava lamp), shown in Figure 3.1.

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