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CHAPTER 4: GAS ABSORPTION

LECTURE 1

UMMI KALTHUM BINTI IBRAHIM

CHAPTER / CONTENT
Definition of Gas Absorption
Gas-liquid Equilibrium
Single stage Equilibrium for Gas Liquid
System
Countercurrent Multiple Contact
Stages
Analytical Equations for
Countercurrent Stage Contact
(Kremser Equation)

Definition, Application and Notation Used in Gas


Absorption

A type of mass transfer operation (separation) between gas and


liquid system.
The removal of one or more selected components from a mixture
of gases.
Common example of gas absorption:
Ammonia Air System
Ammonia can be absorbed by passing the gases (NH3
air) into water where ammonia will be dissolved in water.
Acetone Air mixture
Acetone can be recovered from an acetoneair mixture by
passing the gas stream into water in which the acetone
dissolves while the air passes out.

L1
X1

Extract, L2
X2

Raffinate, G1
Y1

Feed, G2
Y2

Gas-liquid Equilibrium
The two phases (gas and liquid) when brought into contact tend to
reach equilibrium.
Consider air water system, the water in contact with air evaporates
until the air is saturated with water vapor, and the air is absorbed by
the water until it becomes saturated with the individual gases.

In any mixture of gases, the degree to which each gas is absorbed is


determined by its partial pressure at a given temperature and pressure.
When a single gas (solute) and a liquid (solvent) are brought into
contact (until equilibrium), the resulting concentration of dissolved gas
(solvent) in liquid is called gas solubility (at T and P).
At fixed temperature, solubility concentration increased when pressure
increased .

Henrys Law (SO2 air water)

Figure 10.2-1. Equilibrium plot for SO2-water system at


293 K (20C).
Data taken from Appendix A.3-19
Data for some common gases with water are given in
Appendix A.3-20 A.3-25.

Single stage Equilibrium for Gas Liquid System

FIGURE 10.3-1. SINGLE-STAGE EQUILIBRIUM PROCESS.

Lo = entering liquid (kg)


L1 = exit liquid (kg)
V2 = entering gas (kg)
V1 = exit gas (kg)
M = total kg
Assuming that three components A, B and C are present in the streams. Equation for B
is not needed since xA +xB + xc = 1.
xA = mass fraction of A in L stream
yA = mole fraction of A in V stream
xAM = mass fraction of A in M stream

Single stage Equilibrium for Gas Liquid System


In the gas-liquid system, the solute A is in the gas phase V, along with inert air
B and in the liquid phase L, along with inert water C.
Air is insoluble in the water phase and water does not vaporize to the gas
phase.
The gas phase is a binary A-B and the liquid phase is a binary A-C.
A balance on A can be written as:

L = moles inert water C


V = moles inert air B
H = Henrys law constant

L = L (1 XA)
V = V (1 yA)

Single stage Equilibrium for Gas Liquid System

Example 10.3-1

Countercurrent Multiple Contact Stages

Figure 10.3-2. Countercurrent multiple-stage process.


Mass balance for countercurrent multiple contact stages:

Lo = inlet L stream
VN+1 = inlet V stream
V1 & LN = outlet product stream
N = total number of stages
M = total flow

Theoretical Stages for Countercurrent Absorption

Figure 10.3-3. Number of stages in a countercurrent multiplestage contact process.

Theoretical Stages for Countercurrent Absorption

Example 10.3-2

Analytical Equations for Countercurrent Stage Contact


(Kremser Equation)

Overall component balance on component A:

Component balance for A:

Analytical Equations for Countercurrent Stage Contact


(Kremser Equation)
Since the molar flow are constant, Ln = LN = constant = L and Vn+1 = VN+1 =
constant = V

Since yn+1 and xn+1 are in equilibrium and the equilibrium line is straight yn+1 and
mxn+1

For transfer of solute A from phase L to V (stripping):

Analytical Equations for Countercurrent Stage Contact


(Kremser Equation)

When A = 1:
For transfer of solute A from phase V to L (absorption):

When A = 1:

Analytical Equations for Countercurrent Stage Contact


(Kremser Equation)

A = absorption factor (constant)

A1 = Lo/mV1
AN = LN/mVN+1
Geometric average :

Analytical Equations for Countercurrent Stage Contact


(Kremser Equation)

Example 10.3-3

GAS ABSORPTION
LECTURE 2

TOPIC OUTLINE

INTRODUCTION
BASIC PRINCIPLES
APPLICATIONS
GAS LIQUID EQUILIBRIUM
UNIT OPERATION FOR ABSORPTION:
A) PACKED TOWER
B) PLATE COLUMN
MASS TRANSFER BETWEEN PHASES

INTRODUCTION
Absorption between gas and liquid.
Solutes are absorbed from the gas phase into the
liquid phase.
Absorption does not destroy the gases.
It simply transfers the contaminated gas to the
liquid state.
Stripping or desorption - reverse of absorption

BASIC PRINCIPLES
The type of contacting liquid chosen depends on the:

1.

Solubility of solute (contaminant gases) in the chosen contacting


liquid.
- Pure water : NH3, acetic acid

2.

Chemical reactivity between gas and liquid.


- Caustic solution: acid gases, HCl & SO2
- Produce a salt

APPLICATIONS
1.

Absorbing SO2 from the flue gases by


absorption in alkaline solutions

2.

Hydrogenation of edible oils in food industry


- Hydrogen gas is bubbled into oil and
absorbed.

3.

Removal of CO2 from synthesis gases by


absorbing it with hot potassium carbonate
solution. (In ammonia production)

4.

Absorbing dimethyl sulfide from the food


processing industry

GAS-LIQUID EQUILIBRIUM
Consider the SO2-air-water system.
An amount of gaseous SO2, air and water are put in
a closed container and shaken repeatedly at a given
temperature until equilibrium is reached.
Samples of the gas and liquid are analyzed to
determine the partial pressure pA of SO2 in the gas
and mole fraction xA in the liquid.

GAS-LIQUID EQUILIBRIUM (CONT)


The equilibrium plot is shown in figure 10.2-1.
The equilibrium relation between pA in the gas phase
and xA can be expressed by a straight line henrys
law equation at low concentration:

PA = hxA
Where h = Henrys law constant (mol frac gas/ mol
frac liquid)

The data for some common gases with water


are given in appendix A.3 (Geankoplis,
Transport Process and Separation Process
Principles, 4th ed., Prentice hall)

PRINCIPLES OF ABSORPTION
MASS TRANSFER BETWEEN PHASES

RATE OF ABSORPTION
CALCULATION OF TOWER HEIGHT
NUMBER OF TRANSFER UNIT

MATERIAL BALANCES:
A) PACKED COLUMN
B) PLATE COLUMN

GRAPHICAL METHOD: THEORETICAL STAGES

MASS TRANSFER BETWEEN PHASES


Two-film theory
In absorption, solute from gas phase must diffuse into liquid
phase.
The rate of diffusion in both phases affect the overall rate of
mass transfer.

Assumption in two-film theory:


A) equilibrium is assumed at the interface
B) the resistance to mass transfer in the two phases are
added to get an overall resistance.

MASS TRANSFER BETWEEN PHASES

Figure 10.4-1. Concentration profile of a solute a diffusing through two phases.


yAG = gas bulk phase concentration
xAL = liquid bulk phase concentration
yAi = interface gas concentration
xAi = interface liquid concentration

MASS TRANSFER BETWEEN PHASES


From Figure 10.4-1:
Assuming solute A is diffusing from the bulk gas phase G
to the liquid phase L, it must pass through phase G,
through the interface and then into phase L in series.
A concentration gradient must exists to cause this mass
transfer through the resistances in each phase.
The average/bulk concentration of A in gas phase is yAG,
yAG = pA/P and in the bulk liquid phase is xAL.
The concentration of yAG decreases to yAi at the
interface. The liquid concentration starts at xAi at the
interface and falls to xAL.
At interface, no resistance, xAi and yAi are in equilibrium.

MASS TRANSFER USING FILM MASS TRANSFER


COEFFICIENT AND INTERFACE CONCENTRATION
To get the value of xAi and yAi from the graph (Figure 10.4-2/10.4-3) :
Get the slope value:
Equimolar counterdiffusion :
A diffusing through stagnant B:

First trial:
(1-yA)iM and (1-xA)iM is assumed 1.0
Plot the slope on graph (as shown in Figure 10.4-2/10.4-3) and get the value of
xAi and yAi

Second trial:
Use xAi and yAi from first trial and get the new slope using equation below

MASS TRANSFER USING FILM MASS TRANSFER


COEFFICIENT AND INTERFACE CONCENTRATION
To get the value of xAi and yAi from the graph:
Second trial (cont):
Plot the new slope on graph and get the new value of xAi and
yAi

If the value of the slope is not close to the first trial, continue
find the slope until get the close value
If the value of the slope is close, calculate the flux using the
equation below:

The final value of mass flux must be similar for both equation.

MASS TRANSFER USING OVERALL MASS


TRANSFER COEFFICIENT
Get the yA* / xA* value from the graph (as shown in Figure 10.42/10.4-3)
Get the slope, m between point E & M / m between point M & D
Slope m:
Slope m:

Get the value of:

MASS TRANSFER USING OVERALL MASS


TRANSFER COEFFICIENT
Find Ky / Kx value:
Ky :

Kx :

MASS TRANSFER USING OVERALL MASS


TRANSFER COEFFICIENT
Get the mass flux:

MASS TRANSFER USING FILM MASS TRANSFER


COEFFICIENT AND INTERFACE CONCENTRATION

Point P = bulk phase compositions


yAG and xAL
Point M = interface concentrations
yAi and xAi

Figure 10.4-2. Concentration driving forces and interface concentrations in


interphase mass transfer (equimolar counterdiffusions).

MASS TRANSFER USING FILM MASS TRANSFER


COEFFICIENT AND INTERFACE CONCENTRATION

Point P = bulk phase compositions


yAG and xAL
Point M = interface concentrations
yAi and xAi

Figure 10.4-3. Concentration driving forces and interface concentrations in


interphase mass transfer (A diffusing through stagnant B).

MASS TRANSFER BETWEEN PHASES


Nomenclature:
ky = mass-transfer coefficient in gas phase

kx = mass-transfer coefficient in liquid phase


Ky = overall mass-transfer coefficient in gas
phase
Kx = overall mass-transfer coefficient in liquid
phase
a = interfacial area per unit volume

ABSORPTION SYSTEM
The most common design of absorption
systems:

1. Packed bed column / packed tower


2. Plate column

GAS ABSORPTION
PACKED TOWER
LECTURE 3

PACKED TOWER
A common apparatus used in gas
absorption is the packed tower as shown
in figure 10.6-3
The device consist of:

1) cylindrical column or tower


2) gas inlet and distributing space at the
bottom

3) liquid inlet and distributor at the top


4) gas & liquid outlets at the top &
bottom, respectively
5) tower packing supported mass of
inert solid shapes

The liquid inlet - pure solvent


- is distributed over the top of packing
by the distributor
- uniformly wets the surfaces of the packings
The distributor - is a set of perforated pipes
- a spray nozzles in a large towers
The gas inlet - enter the distributing space below the packing
- flow upward in the packing countercurrent to
the flow of the liquid

PACKINGS

The packing - provides a large area of contact between


the liquid and gas
- encourage intimates contact between the
phases

3 principal types:
i) dumped packings, (0.25 3 inch)
ii) stacked packings, (2 8 inch)
iii) structured/ordered packings.

Common tower packings is shown in Figure 10.6-4


Made from: plastic, metal or ceramic

MAIN PROBLEM OCCUR DURING ABSORPTION PROCE


Good contact between liquid & gas is the hardest to meet esp. In large tower
Channeling
Occur at low liquid rates
Some of the packing surface dry
Reason for the poor performance
Can be minimized by having the ratio of tower diameter to packing
diameter, 8:1
Loading point
Occur when the liquid flow is reduced due to the increased gas flow.
The gas start to hinder the liquid down flow and pools of liquid start to
appear in the packing.

The gas pressure drop start to rise at a faster rate.

FLOODING & PRESSURE DROP


Flooding point

The liquid stops flowing and accumulate at the top of the


column due to very high gas flow.
Factors that may lead to flooding:

High inlet gas flow rates


Low liquid circulation rates
Small diameter towers
Pressure drop - common way of determining if flooding is
occurring / something else goes wrong inside the absorber.

Figure 10.6-5 and 10.6-6 show typical data for the pressure
drop in a packed tower.

Figure 10.6-5. Pressure-drop correlation for random packages by Strigle.

Figure 10.6-6. Pressure-drop correlation for structured packages by Kister


and Gill (K2).

MATERIAL BALANCES FOR PACKED COLUMN


Total material balance:

Material balance on component a

Overall material equations


Total material balance:

Material balance on component a:

Rearrange the eq. Gives operating-line equation:

The operating line can be plotted on the graph along with the
equilibrium curve as shown in fig. 10.6-10.

The operating line must lie above the equilibrium line in order
for absorption to take place.

DESIGN OF PACKED TOWERS FOR ABSORPTION


1) Operating line

L = kg mol inert liquid/s


V = kg mol inert gas/s
y1 = mole fraction of A in gas
x1 = mole fraction of A in liquid
L and V are constant throughout the tower
The equation when plotted on yx coordinates will give a curved line

Figure 10.6-10. Location of operating lines: (a) for absorption of A from V to L


stream; (b) for stripping of A from L to V stream.

DESIGN OF PACKED TOWERS FOR ABSORPTION


2) Limiting and optimum L/V ratios
When the operating line has a minimum
slope and touches the equilibrium line at
point P, the liquid flow L is a minimum at
Lmin.

The value of x1 is a maximum at x1max when


L is a minimum.
To solve for Lmin, the values y1 and x1max are
substituted into the operating line equation.
For absorption, the optimum liquid flow rate
can be taken as 1.2 1.5 times the limiting
rate Lmin with 1.5 is usually used.

Operating line for limiting


conditions (absorption)

DESIGN OF PACKED TOWERS FOR ABSORPTION


2) Limiting and optimum L/V ratios
For stripping, the operating line has a
maximum slope and touches the
equilibrium line at point P, the gas flow V
is a minimum at Vmin.
The value of y2 is a maximum at y2max
when V is a minimum.
The optimum gas flow rate can be taken
at 1.5 times Vmin.
# Objective for limiting and optimum L/V
ratios is to use in the tower design which
depends on an economic purposes.

Operating line for limiting


conditions (stripping)

DESIGN OF PACKED TOWERS FOR ABSORPTION


3) Analytical equations for theoretical number of trays
For absorption:

For stripping:

A1 L1 m1V1
A2 L2 m2V2
A

A1 A2

y1 mx2

1
1
1
ln

A
A
y2 mx2

N
ln A

y1
x1 m

ln
1

y
1

x2 m

N
ln 1
A

DESIGN OF PACKED TOWERS FOR ABSORPTION


3) Film and overall mass transfer coefficients in packed tower
Defining a as interfacial area in m2 per m3 volume of packed section, the
film and overall mass transfer coefficients are:

DESIGN OF PACKED TOWERS FOR ABSORPTION


4) Design method for packed towers using mass transfer
coefficients
Log mean driving force (LMDF)

y yi M
xi x M

y y

y1 yi1 y2 yi 2
ln y1 yi1 y2 yi 2
xi1 x1 xi 2 x2
ln xi1 x1 xi 2 x2

lnyy y y yy yy
*
1

*
1

*
2
*
2

x x lnxx x x xx xx
*
1

*
1

*
2
*
2

Use with film mass


transfer coefficient

Use with overall mass


transfer coefficient

DESIGN OF PACKED TOWERS FOR ABSORPTION


4) Design method for packed towers using mass transfer
coefficients
To calculate tower height:

V1 V2
2
L L2
L 1
2
S cross - sectional area

z tower height

Figure 10.6-13. Operating-line and interface compositions in a packed tower for absorption
of dilute gases.

Example 10.6-3

FIGURE 10.6-12. OPERATING LINE FOR MINIMUM AND ACTUAL LIQUID FLOW IN EXAMPLE
10.6-3.

Example 10.6-4

Figure 10.6-14. Location of interface compositions for example 10.6-4.

GAS ABSORPTION
PLATE TOWER
ADDITIONAL

ABSORPTION IN PLATE COLUMN


Besides packed tower, gas absorption
can be carried out in a column
equipped with sieve trays or other
types of plates.
Plate column is used instead of
packed column because:
A) to avoid the problem of liquid
distribution in a large diameter tower
B) to decrease the uncertainty in
scale-up

Plate Column

MATERIAL BALANCES FOR PLATE COLUMN


A general stage in the system is the
Nth stage, which is number N
counting from the entrance of the L
phase.

YN+1 = mole fraction of component a


in the V phase leaving stage

n + 1.

LN = molal flow rate of the L phase


leaving the Nth stage.

Material balances for the portion of the column above an arbitrary


section (dashed line)
Total material balance:

Material balance on component a

Overall material balance equations


Total material balance:

Material balance on component a:

GRAPHICAL METHODS FOR TWO-COMPONENT


SYSTEMS
It is possible to solve many mass transfer problems
graphically for system containing only two
components.
The operating line equation for the plate column
(Figure 10.6-7):

The material balance around dashed line:

Figure 10.6-7. Material balance in an absorption tray tower.

GRAPHICAL METHODS FOR TWO-COMPONENT


SYSTEMS
The operating line is a plot of the points xn and yn + 1 for all the
stages.
The equilibrium line is a plot of equilibrium values of xe and
ye.
The equilibrium data is found by experiment, by
thermodynamic calculations or from published sources.
The position of the operating line relative to the equilibrium
line determines the direction of mass transfer and how many
stages are required for a given separation.

IDEAL CONTACT STAGES


The ideal stage is a standard to which an actual stage
may be compared.

If the information on stage efficiencies is available, the no.


of actual stage can be calculated.

In an ideal stage, the V phase leaving the stage is in


equilibrium with the L phase leaving the same stage.

DETERMINATION OF THE NUMBER OF IDEAL


STAGES
A simple method of determining the number of ideal
stages when there are only two components in each
phase is a graphical construction using the operating-line
diagram.

Figure 10.6-8 shows the operating line and the equilibrium


curve for a typical gas absorber.

Figure 10.6-8. Theoretical number of trays for absorption of SO2 in example


10.6-2.