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Using electrical resistance tomography to characterize and optimize the mixing of micron sized polymeric particles in a slurry reactor

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posted on 08.06.2021, 12:13 by Parisa Tahvildarian
A solid-liquid mixing system has a significant role in the suspension polymerization, crystallization, adsorption, and solid-catalyzed reactions. In this study, Electrical Resistance Tomography (ERT) was employed to investigate the effect of the particle size, the design parameters such as impeller type, impeller clearance and impeller diameter as well as operating conditions such as impeller speed, impeller pumping mode, and solids concentration on the mixing of micron sized latex particles in a slurry reactor. The ERT data were used to calculate the concentration profile and the degree of homogeneity in three dimensions, as a function of design parameters and operating within the reactor. In this work, tap water and latex particles (5.2 µm, 8.5 µm, 9.1 µm) were used as liquid and solid phase, respectively. Six axial impellers were utilized (A310, A100, A200, A320, A315, 3AM) with impeller speed (N) varying from 252 rpm to 400 rpm. Impeller diameter to tank diameter ratios (D/T) were in the range of 0.29 to 0.47 while, the impeller clearance (C/T) was changed in the range of T/3.8 to T/2.5. Impeller pumping was tested in both downward and upward directions. The concentration of latex particles was ranged between 15 wt% and 30 wt%. This study shows that the level of homogeneity in a solid-liquid mixing system improved with the increase in impeller speed. However, after achieving the maximum level of homogeneity, any further rise in the impeller speed had a detrimental effect on the level of homogeneity. A310 impeller, wtih D/T ratio of 0.31, demonstrated the highest level of homogeneity while the upward pumping direction was found to be more efficient than the downward one. In addition, a clearance of T/3 proved to create the highest level of homogeneity. Also, the results showed that a rise in the size and concentration of particles decreases the level of homogeneity. Thus, 5.2 µm latex particles with the concentration of 15 wt% demonstrated the highest level of homogeneity. Applying the findings of this study will lead to improved equipment design, chemical cost reduction, increased production rate, improved quality of products, and more efficient use of power in slurry reactors.





Chemical Engineering

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

Thesis Advisor

Farhad Ein-Mozaffari Simant Ranjan Upreti