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Title: Effect of tray design on the performance of a vibrating plate extraction column
Authors: Sincuba, Nomakhosi Dorothy 
Issue Date: 2015
There are various types of separation processes used in industries, such as, distillation, liquid-liquid extraction and gas absorption. Liquid-liquid extraction (LLE) is a separation process that involves mass transfer from a liquid mixture to an immiscible extraction solvent. This process is generally used where the mixture cannot be separated by fractional distillation due to close relative volatilities of the mixture components or for heat sensitive components.
LLE is rated as the second most important separation process after distillation and it is widely used in chemical engineering industries. Different types of columns are available for LLE. Reciprocating and vibrating plate extraction columns are mechanically agitated extraction columns. In this research a vibrating plate extraction column was utilised. It uses perforated plates with down-comers. The perforations provide passage for the dispersed phase, while down-comers provide passage for the continuous phase.
The effectiveness of a vibrating plate extractor was previously investigated but limited research was conducted on the effect of the different tray designs and agitation levels (as the product of amplitude and frequency of vibration). These variables affect the hydrodynamics and mass transfer in the column. The determination of the optimum process parameters is important in achieving the highest separation efficiency of the vibrating extraction column.
The focus of this research is to test the effect of different tray designs in order to enhance the separation process efficiency. All tests were conducted using the toluene-acetone-water system as a standard test system proposed by the European Federation for Chemical Engineering, (1985). The experiments were conducted to test the effect of mass transfer on the hydrodynamics of the system while changing the agitation levels, downcomers and hole diameters. A comparative investigation was conducted on straight segment and circular downcomers, then hole diameters analysis was performed on the effective downcomer
Comparison of the effect of the tray design types on the amount of acetone extracted was utilised to select the effective tray. Tray with the circular downcomer and 3.0 mm hole diameter had high dispersed phase holdup values and with the highest percentage amount of acetone extracted (95.05%) was obtained compared to other tray designs investigated.
Submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Engineering, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2015.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Engineering and Built Environment)

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