Hydrodynamics and mass transfer studies in a scheibel extractor
A 10 cm diameter four-stage Scheibel column with dispersed phase wetted packing sections has been constructed to study the hydrodynamics and mass transfer using the system toluene-acetone-water. The literature pertaining to the above extractor has been examined and the important phenomena such as droplet break-up and coalescence, mass transfer and backmixing have been reviewed. A critical analysis of the backmixing or axial mixing models and the corresponding techniques for parameter estimation was applied and an optimization technique based on Marquardt's algorithm was implemented. A single phase sampling technique was developed to estimate the acetone concentration profile in both phases along the column. Column flooding characteristics were investigated under various operating conditions and it was found that, when the impellers were located at about DI/5cm from the upper surface of the pads, the limiting flow rates increased with impeller speed. This unusual behaviour was explained in terms of the pumping effect created by the turbine impellers. Correlations were developed to predict Sauter mean drop diameters. A five-cell with backflow model was used to estimate the column performance (stage efficiency) and phases non-ideality (backflow parameters). Overall mass transfer coefficients were computed using the above model and compared with those calculated using the correlations based on single drop mechanism.