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The aim of wetted wall column experiment:

Evaluation of Mass Transfer Coefficient in a wetted wall column

Objective:
The rates of diffusion into gases flowing through pipes are studied in wetted wall
column.

Principle/Theory:

A thin film of liquid falling down the inside of a vertical pipe through which the gas flows
constitutes a wetted wall column. Wetted wall columns have been used as absorbers of
Hydrochloric acid, Ammonia, Acetone, Benzene and other volatile liquids. They have
also been studied for theoretical studies for mass transfer because the interfacial
surface between the phases is kept under control and is measurable.

The height of wetted wall column required for mass transfer operations is excessive and
consequently this is not widely used, where large quantities of liquid or gas have to be
handled, it would be necessary to arrange many vertical pipes in parallel and this leads
to difficulties in the distribution of liquid into the inner surface of the tubes. The gas
pressure drop for this is confined to skin friction effects, with few or no expansion or
contraction losses.

Mass transfer rates for fluids flowing through pipes have been studied more completely
than other cases.
The rates of diffusion into gases flowing through pipes have been studied in wetted wall
columns.
A volatile liquid is submitted to flow down the inside surface of a circular tube, while a
gas flows upward or downward through the centre of the pipe. Measurement of the rate
of evaporation of a liquid into the gas stream over known surface permits calculation of
mass transfer coefficient for the diffusion of vapor into the gas stream. Since the liquid is
pure, the concentration gradient for diffusion exists entirely within the gas phase, the
mass transfer coefficient Kg may be calculated. Sherwood and Gillard conducted a
series of experiments using a variety of volatile liquids with air in turbulent flow.

Here the mass transfer coefficient in the form of the dimensionless group is plotted
against the Reynolds number of the gas for the system air-water (Sc = 60). For gases,
values of Re from 2000 to 35,000 were covered and from 0.6 to 2.5 with gas pressures
varying from 0.1 to 3 atm.
The equation which describes all the data for both liquid and gas flow is

(KG d/DW (PBM/P) (Kld/D) = 0.023 Re0.83 Sc1/3

This empirical relation is quite remarkable in the manner in which it generally confirms
the relationship between heat mass and momentum transfer developed theoretically.
However, the evaporation of the volatile liquids in a wetted wall column results in
cooling of the liquids and consequent simultaneous heat transfer between liquid and
gas. The heat transfer rates are given by the equation

hd / k = 0.023 Re0.8 Pr0.3

Owing to ripples and waves on the liquid surface.

Introduction:

Convective mass transfer is an energy transfer between a surface and fluid moving over
the surface. In this analysis of convection, the soluble vapor is absorbed by means of a
liquid in which the solute gas is more or less soluble from its mixture. Therefore, a
suitable data can be used to distinguish the calculations of vapor phase mass transfer
coefficients and this useful method can also predict the influence of vapor flow rate on
the vapor phase mass transfer coefficients and also compare the experimental results
with suggested correlations of model mass transfer. In terms of absorption processes,
however the feed is a gas introduced at the bottom of the column and the solvent is fed
to the top, as a liquid. The absorbed gas and solvent leave at the bottom and the
unabsorbed components leave as gas from the top. The essential difference between
distillation and absorption is that the vapor has to be produced in each stage by partial
vaporization of the liquid which is therefore at its boiling point, whereas in absorption the
liquid is well below its boiling point. In general, the ratio of the liquid to the gas flow rate
is considerably greater in absorption than in distillation.

It consists of a liquid film running down the inside of a long glass tube with gas flowing
counter-current, up through the middle of the tube. Mass transfer occurs at the interface
between the flowing vapor and the liquid phases. In contrast to a packed column, the
interfacial area between the vapor and liquid phases is easily measured. However, the
contracting area per unit volume of column is much lower in the wetted wall column.
This makes the wetted wall column suitable for mass transfer experiments but
unsuitable for practical applications.