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Molasses

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MOLASSES
General Properties of Molasses Molasses is a thick syrup weighing approximately 1.45 kg per litre (90 lbs per cubic foot). It can be stored for long periods without deterioration providing dilution does not occur. If dilution does occur molasses is liable to ferment fairly quickly. Storage tanks therefore must be constructed so that water cannot get in, and in addition tanks should be vented to prevent condensation taking place and diluting the surface of the molasses. An adequate system of ventilation also helps to prevent steel tanks from rusting. The most frequent description given to molasses is that it is viscous but too much emphasis need not be placed on this property since a well-designed system incorporating a simple heating device will enable molasses to be handled satisfactorily. As the temperature of molasses is raised viscosity falls, and an increase of 5.6 C (10 F) will approximately halve the viscosity. For handling molasses within a feed mill for example, a temperature of 32 -38 C (90 -100 F) will not only greatly reduce the viscosity but the variations between molasses from different sources will also tend to be far less. Molasses should not be heated over 40.5 C (105 F) since above this temperature destruction of sugars will occur and its feeding value will be damaged. Molasses may caramelise at about 49 C (120 F).
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Safety
Normally molasses is quite safe to handle, but if water has entered the tank fermentation may have taken place with the generation of carbon dioxide gas, which is asphyxiating and alcohol vapour, which is flammable. Therefore if this is thought to have taken place the tank should be thoroughly ventilated before entering it and any residue should be thoroughly cleaned out before any hot work such as welding is done on the tank.

Delivery
(UK only, by United Molasses Company Limited) Bulk delivery will usually be made by U.M. in their own transport. U.M. road vehicles are capable of delivering up to 22.3 tonnes of molasses at a time and the dimensions of the latest vehicle are as follows: Maximum height Maximum width Overall length Gross weight Capacity Turning Circle (Articulated) (Rigid) 3360 mm 2440 mm 12650 mm 32.513 tonnes 22.353 tonnes 15.850 m 20.422 m (132 inches) ( 96 inches) (498 inches) ( 32 tons) ( 22 tons) ( 52 feet) ( 67 feet)

Discharge from road vehicles is either by means of gravity or by the vehicles own pump. For gravity discharge the maximum rate is at 100 tonnes per hour and the discharge by engine driven pump is at the rate of 30 to 60 tonnes per hour. The location of the molasses delivery point is important and must be in a position which is accessible to

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Molasses

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the vehicle and has a flat approach capable of supporting a fully laden weight of 32.5 tonnes. Gravity discharge is by means of a chute at the rear of the vehicle and usually means the construction of a receiving trench or an under-ground storage tank. All molasses delivered by United Molasses Company passes through a 1.5-2 mm mesh filter so there is no need to fit a filter to the suction side of the intake pump. If the vehicle is to be discharged by means of its own pump a receiving pipe must be installed terminating in a 100 mm (4) B.S.P. male screwed end (with a protective cap) for connection to the vehicle discharge hose. This connection should be approximately 750 mm (26) above ground level. A valve should be installed at the vehicle end of the pipeline to prevent molasses dripping from the pipe after discharge has taken place. The pipeline should in no circumstances be less than 100 mm (4) in diameter and for this diameter a maximum of 61 metres (200) in length is recommended but this distance will be decreased if there Is a significant vertical head to be overcome. However, it must be remembered that a short discharge line facilitates rapid and easy delivery. In all circumstances efforts should be made to drain the pipeline after each delivery as the presence of cold molasses in the line would delay the subsequent discharge of a vehicle.

Storage
It is essential that tankage of sufficient capacity is installed to enable a full wagon to be discharged without running molasses stocks down to such a level that supplies would be endangered by a slight delay in delivery. A minimum capacity of 25 tonnes plus three days supply is recommended. Molasses can be stored indefinitely in steel or concrete tanks and it is unnecessary to employ more expensive materials. Concrete tanks are not recommended for above ground storage for cost reasons. Below ground level concrete tanks are quite suitable and should be constructed from a 1:2:4 mix properly reinforced, and the concrete vibrated while pouring. Construction should be monolithic to avoid seepage of molasses into joints with subsequent deterioration of the concrete, and a minimum 50 mm (2) cover should be laid over reinforcing steel. The entire mass of concrete should be protected by means of a recognised sealing and hardening agent, for example, Sodium Silicate (water glass). Two coats of a surface sealing and hardening agent should be painted on soon after striking the shutter. Covers should be provided to keep out water and debris. To facilitate draining, the construction of a concrete tank should be such that there is a slope on the bottom of 150 mm in 3 metres (6 in 10) to a 150mm (6) sump. Where steel is used for storage tanks it must be remembered that molasses has a specific gravity of 1.45: tanks should be designed for this requirement and must therefore be of stronger construction than if for use with water. A circular steel tank is usually the least expensive form of construction and circular tanks over 4.57 metres (15) in diameter should be constructed equivalent to British Standards Specification 2654 which gives details of steel thicknesses and methods of construction. If the tank outlet valves are of cast steel construction, instead of the more general cast iron pattern, the risk of fracture due to frost or to settlement of the tank is minimised. In the case of a horizontal tank the standard is BS2594, designed for liquids of 1.45 SG. Molasses contains up to 24% water, and therefore when it is warm condensation will occur on the cold roof and sides of the tank. For this reason molasses tanks should be well ventilated to enable a draught of air to circulate across the inside of the roof in order to keep this as dry as possible. Rusting may be prevented by shot or sand blasting the inside of the tank and painting the roof and upper part of the sides with an epoxy primer and two coats of epoxy paint, preferably applied by the airless spray method. If it is considered not worthwhile to paint the roof, zinc chromate primer only may be used. While this will not prevent rust occurring, it will delay the attack for some time. Care must be taken to avoid use of any toxic substance such as red lead. Galvanised tanks are not recommended. If possible, it is an advantage to site the storage tank within a building to minimise the temperature drop during very cold weather. It is sometimes an advantage to heat the molasses in the storage tank to facilitate handling in the installation and this will be referred to in the following section. In order that tanks

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may be inspected internally and also for cleaning purposes, a manhole at least 460 mm (18) diameter and preferably 590 mm (24) diameter is essential.

Heating
As a prerequisite for easier handling, molasses should be heated to a temperature of 32 -38 C (90 -100 F). A suitable heating system may consist of a tank holding approximately one days supply fed from the storage tank, although in a smaller installation the storage and heating tank could well be one and the same vessel. Since there is always a danger of overheating with steam coils it is preferable to use a hot water circulation system rather than steam: this prevents the local destruction of sugars that inevitably occurs with even low pressure steam. Water circulating through heating coils at 82 C (180 F) is quite sufficient and even in small installations this can be conveniently provided by a domestic type of hot water boiler. When molasses is flowing a heat transfer co-efficient of about 0.1 kW/m / 1 C (15 Btus/ft /1 F) can be conveniently used for heating calculations but when it is static a figure of about 0.05 kW/m / 1 C (7.5 Btus/ft / F) is a closer approximation. The specific heat of molasses is approximately 0.5. While steam at a pressure of not more than 1.03 bar (15 p.s.i.g.) can be and is used for heating, burning of molasses on the coils can take place and it is very often the burnt molasses breaking off the coils that causes difficulties with meters and pumps. The surface temperature of the steam coils at 1.03 bar (15 p.s.i.g.) is 121 C (250 F) and this is well above the temperature at which sugar destruction takes place. The heat loss per hour for an uninsulated tank can be calculated by using a figure of 4.07 calories per square metre (1.5 Btus per square foot) for every 1 C (1 F) difference in temperature between the molasses and the surrounding air. Where the surface of the tank is insulated with 50 mm (2) thick glass fibre, or mineral wool, then the 4.07 cal./m / C (1.5 Btus/ft / F) can be reduced to 0.8 cal./m (0.3 Btus/ft / F).
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Pumping
Many difficulties in molasses handling arise from the use of pumps and pipes of inadequate size. Most type of positive displacement pumps can be used for molasses and centrifugal pumps are rarely used. The following types of positive pumps are suitable:Gear Sliding Vane Worm Reciprocating Screw pumps may also be used to pump molasses but are not recommended due to the expensive repairs that would be required if the pump were to run dry with consequent damage to the screws. During operation, glands should be tightened sufficiently to allow a slow trickle of molasses to leak out, thus preventing overheating and consequent seizure and scoring of the shaft. Pumps should be fitted with pressure gauges on the delivery side and compound gauges, of the diaphragm type, on the suction side. Distribution pumps should be located as near to the supply tank as possible and preferably slightly below to give a gravity feed. The suction of the pump should be of a larger diameter than the outlet and preferably not less than 75 mm (3). Pumps should always be protected by a well-designed strainer capable of being removed easily with the minimum of mess for cleaning purposes. For molasses, pumps should always be run slowly to prevent cavitation. The power required to drive the pump varies with the required discharge quantity and pumping pressure.

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Molasses

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All molasses handling pumps should be equipped with a spring loaded pressure relief valve which may be augmented with a manual by-pass valve where required. The spring loaded relief valve should be set to lift at 0.68/1.03 bar (10/15 p.s.i.g.) above the maximum working pressure expected.

Distribution
Difficulty arises in molasses distribution by the use of pipes of inadequate size. It is generally advised that pipes should not be less than 50 mm (2) in diameter with the minimum number of changes in direction. Pipe for molasses may be of steel, cast iron, polythene or PVC, providing the strength is adequate for the duty it has to perform. Polythene pipe is only satisfactory up to 37 mm (1 1/2) diameter and is not suitable for temperatures above 20 C (68 F). There are, in general use, three types of fittings used for changing direction, usually by 90 or 45 . These are: Elbow: Bend: Long radius bend: where the radius is equal to the diameter. where the radius is equal to 1 1/2 times the diameter. where there is no limit to the radius.
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For use on molasses any of the foregoing may be used although the 1 1/2 diameter bends are the most common. There is no advantage in using long gradual bends as molasses is moving at such a slow speed, the energy used in changing direction is negligible. It is strongly recommended that any valve fitted to the bottom of a tank be cast steel. All other valves may be of cast iron construction. Standard gate valves giving a straight through unrestricted flow are suitable and should be of the rising spindle type as they show whether the valve is closed or open. While a well-designed ring main system may be used to distribute the molasses to various user points, difficulties arise with this type of arrangement. Constant circulation will give rise to aeration of the molasses with the danger of fermentation and, moreover, air in molasses will give false readings in volumetric metering devices. Variations of pressure in the ring main due to a number of draw-off points can also give false meter readings but on the other hand, too high pressures may cause slip through metering pumps with misleading results of proportioning. A more satisfactory method, where it can be applied, is the provision of one or more overhead constant head tanks. The constant head tank is supplied via the supply pump and the level maintained by a float valve which can switch the supply pump on and off as required. The connection between the overhead tank and the user point should be as short and have as large a diameter as possible. It is good practice to lag all the distribution lines to minimise temperature loss and, where possible, a small bore steam line lagged in with the molasses line will ensure consistent temperatures throughout the plant, providing a thermostat is used on the steam line.

Metering and Proportioning


Providing a well-designed distribution system is installed, consistent metering and proportioning of molasses will be obtained. For reliable metering, the molasses flow must be capable of positive regulation and this is best carried out by a metering pump below a constant head tank. A number of different types of metering pumps may be used including a variable stroke piston pump, a pump with a variable speed motor, or a variable flow pump. A piston type flow meter, if provided with a constant head of molasses at a consistent temperature, will give satisfactory results. Filters are very necessary where meters are used. The area of filter basket or element must be of sufficient size to ensure that the flow is unrestricted. For example, a 50 mm (2) inlet to the meter would require at least a 100 mm (4) filter inlet. Filters should be cleaned regularly and it is an advantage to install a duplex filter or two single filters so that one can be kept running while the other

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is being cleaned. The mesh size prior to a meter should not be more than 1.5 mm. Whatever method of molasses metering is used it should be checked frequently by measuring test quantities via a valve downstream of the meter and by a laboratory analysis of the final product. By good management and the use of recommended procedures molasses inclusion can he made consistent and at the required level. Considering the molasses flow, a variation of plus or minus 2% in the output of a molasses metering pump will influence the proportion of molasses in the final product by plus or minus 0.2% at a 10% level of addition. A variation of plus or minus 2% is well within the capability of a good metering pump with a well-designed supply system. With meal, a variation of 48-64 kg/cubic metre (3-4 lbs/cubic foot) in density will alter the molasses inclusion by 1%. For reliable and consistent results therefore both meal and molasses flows should be regularly checked by weight or by laboratory analysis. Note: Molasses Specific gravity 1.4 kg/litre 1441.6 kg/m
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= 1.45 = 14 lbs to the gallon = 90 lbs per cubic foot = 6.43 gallons per cubic foot

1032 litres/m

0.7248 mm /tonne = 26 cubic feet to the ton (2240 lbs) 716 litres/tonne = 160 gallons to the ton (2240 lbs)

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