Mass transfer characteristics of two-aqueous-phase liquid-liquid mixtures
Mass transfer rates were studied using the falling drop method. Cibacron Blue 3 GA dye was the transferring solute from the salt phase to the PEG phase. Measurements were undertaken for several concentrations of the dye and the phase-forming solutes and with a range of different drop sizes, e.g. 2.8, 3.0 and 3.7 mm. The dye was observed to be present in the salt phase as finely dispersed solids but a model confirmed that the mass transfer process could still be described by an equation based upon the Whitman two-film model. The overall mass transfer coefficient increased with increasing concentration of the dye. The apparent mass transfer coefficient ranged from 1 x 10-5 to 2 x 10 -4 m/s. Further experiments suggested that mass transfer was enhanced at high concentration by several mechanisms. The dye was found to change the equilibrium composition of the two phases, leading to transfer of salt between the drop and continuous phases. It also lowered the interfacial tension (i.e. from 1.43 x 10-4 N/m for 0.01% w/w dye concentration to 1.07 x 10-4 N/m for 0.2% w/w dye concentration) between the two phases, which could have caused interfacial instabilities (Marangoni effects). The largest drops were deformable, which resulted in a significant increase in the mass transfer rate. Drop size distribution and Sauter mean drop diameter were studied on-line in a 1 litre agitated vessel using a laser diffraction technique. The effects of phase concentration, dispersed phase hold-up and impeller speed were investigated for the salt-PEG system. An increase in agitation speed in the range 300 rpm to 1000 rpm caused a decrease in mean drop diameter, e.g. from 50 m to 15 m. A characteristic bimodal drop size distribution was established within a very short time. An increase in agitation rate caused a shift of the larger drop size peak to a smaller size.