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(Due: 01 May 2017)

Questions due for assessment: 3.1, 3.3, 3.5 and 3.6

3.1 A bed of graded sand, 3.6 m in diameter, 1.2 m deep and having voidage of 0.40, is used for
the clarification of waste water at atmospheric pressure and temperature.
a. The bed contains fairly uniform coarse sand particles with volume diameter (dv) of 1080 m
and sphericity () of 0.8. For a constant water level of 4.0 m above the sand, calculate the
flow rate of water through the sand bed.
[Hint: Use the Ergun equation in full, with superficial velocity as unknown variable.]
b. The bed contains two layers of sand, each with 0.6 m-depth. The top layer consists of fine
sand particles with dv = 645 m and  = 0.8. The bottom layer contains the same sand as
in part (a). The average bed voidage may be assumed to be 0.40. For the same water flow
rate as in part (a), what would the new water level above the sand bed be?
Approx. Ans: (a) 950 m3/h (b) 7.7 m

3.2 A vapour-phase catalytic reactor, 1.0 m in diameter, is packed with cylindrical catalyst pellets
having dimensions 5 mm5 mm, to a depth of 3.0 m. Tests with inert feed of the same
molecular mass as reactive feed, and at constant temperature of 390K, show that a flow rate
of 20 tonnes/h can be attained with a frictional pressure drop of 15.0 kPa. In operation, the
feed enters at 390 K as in the test but, owing to the exothermic reaction, products leave the
reactor at 570 K. Assume that the molecular masses of feed and products are equal and that
the temperature rise is linear through the depth of the catalyst bed. Ideal gas behaviour may
be assumed. Hydrostatic pressure may be neglected. More data are given below.
a. Determine the voidage of the catalyst bed based on the test conditions.
b. Estimate the mass flow rate of the reactive feed obtainable with a pressure drop of 15.0
kPa over the packed column.
[Hint: Use the differential form of the pressure drop-velocity equation that can be
integrated over the depth of packing. Also use mass velocity instead of the
superficial velocity for gas flow under non-isothermal conditions, where gas density
varies with temperature.]
DATA: Molecular mass of feed, products = 80; Average reactor pressure = 1.0 MPa
Viscosity of feed, products = 0.015 cp
Approx. Ans: (a) 0.435 (b) 18 tonnes/h

3.3 a. An air stream at 20°C and atmospheric pressure is fed at 1200 m3/h to a 1.5-m diameter
column, packed with 3.2 m of 10-mm Raschig rings in order to collect solvent droplets
from it. The direction of flow is downward and 300 kg/h of solvent is to be recovered from
the bottom of the column. Estimate the pressure loss through the column.
DATA: Raschig ring’s outside diameterinside diameterlength = 10710 mm
Voidage of packing = 0.7
Solvent: density = 1840 kg/m3; viscosity = 30 cp
Air (20°C, 1 atm): density = 1.206 kg/m3; viscosity = 0.018 cp
b. Repeat the above calculations for a similar column, packed with 3.2 m of 13-mm ceramic
Intalox saddles having specific surface area (aS) of 625 m2/m3 and packing voidage 0.78.

Approx. Ans: (a) 250 Pa (b) 32 Pa

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3.4 A 1-m diameter tower, packed with 25-mm ceramic Intalox saddles, is used as a counter-
current gas absorber operating at 20oC. A flow rate of 10 m3/h of the liquid solvent will be
required to process 2500 m3(STP)/h of the gas.
a. Calculate the pressure loss over a depth of 4 m of packing under the design conditions.
b. If the gas flow rate is doubled, how much can the liquid flow rate be increased before
flooding occurs in the column? Calculate the maximum liquid flow rate in [m3/h].
c. If the absorber is to be operated at the same flow rates as in part (b), what type and size
of packing can be used to avoid flooding and have the same pressure loss as in part (a)?
Gas: Liquid:
Density at inlet: 1.0 kg/m3 Average Density: 980 kg/m3
Inlet temperature: 20oC Average Viscosity: 0.8 10-3 Pas
Inlet pressure: 2 atm(abs)
Standard conditions (STP): 101.3 kPa, 273 K

Approx. Ans: (a) 280 Pa (b) 585%; 69 m3/h (c) Metallic Intalox saddles, size ?

3.5 A process air containing 10 vol% CO2 is to be scrubbed counter-currently with a caustic soda
solution in a packed tower. Use the data below to determine:
a. A suitable tower diameter based on a gas velocity equal to 70 percent of the velocity at
flooding. Note: Assume ideal gas behaviour, and use the conditions at the bottom of the
packing, i.e. gas at inlet and liquid at exit, for these calculations.
b. The exit gas pressure, if the tower consists of 2.5 m of the irrigated packed height and
0.5m of the same packing above the liquid inlet serving as an entrainment separator (i.e.
only gas flows through the top dry packing section). Hydrostatic head may be neglected.
DATA: Gas in: 3000 m3/h at 25oC, 130 kPa abs
Gas out: substantially air at 25oC
Liquid in: 30 m3/h, SG = 1.3, viscosity= 2.5 cp
Packing: 25-mm ceramic Berl saddles
Viscosity air at 25oC = 1.84510-5 Pa.s
Approx. Ans: (a) 1.1 m; (b) 128.9 kPa

3.6 You are planning to use an existing 1.2-m diameter tower, packed with 3.6 m of 50-mm
ceramic Raschig rings, as a counter-current gas scrubber to treat process air using water as
the absorption liquid. The air is to be fed at 1.1 atm and 300C and the desired degree of gas
absorption can be achieved with a water-to-air mass flow rate ratio of 5.
a. You found that flooding just occurred in the packed tower when operating under the
condition stated above. What is the corresponding air flow rate [in m3/h]?
b. One option you plan to try is replace the existing packing with new plastic Pall rings
having the same nominal size (50 mm). Would this solve the flooding problem? What
would the resulting pressure drop across the packed tower be with the new packing?
c. How much higher flow rates could be operated before flooding occurs in the tower packed
with the Pall rings?
Approx. Ans: (a) 7670 m3/h (b) 1.3 kPa (c) up to 62% higher

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