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Volume 4, September

ChemEngineering, Volume 4, Issue 4 (December 2020) – 12 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Aiming at enhancing basic understanding of the operation of chemical reactors for CO2 reduction to methane and methanol, the numerical solutions of a simplified set of basic equations showcase the functioning of established reactor concepts as well as new ways of improving the efficiency by “sorption-enhancement”. View this paper.
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Open AccessArticle
DMSO Intercalation in Selected Kaolinites: Influence of the Crystallinity
ChemEngineering 2020, 4(4), 66; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/chemengineering4040066 - 21 Dec 2020
Viewed by 555
Abstract
The present study deals with the relation between crystalline order in kaolinites and their ability to intercalate DMSO. Raw clays and kaolinite–DMSO complexes are analyzed using FTIR, XRD powder diffraction and differential scanning calorimetry and thermogravimetric analysis (DSC-TGA). The crystallinity is accessed using [...] Read more.
The present study deals with the relation between crystalline order in kaolinites and their ability to intercalate DMSO. Raw clays and kaolinite–DMSO complexes are analyzed using FTIR, XRD powder diffraction and differential scanning calorimetry and thermogravimetric analysis (DSC-TGA). The crystallinity is accessed using the Hinckley index (HI) from the raw clays’ XRD patterns and the p2 factor from their FTIR spectra. The intercalation ratio is evaluated from XRD and compared among the samples. The thermal analyses show a decrease in the dehydroxylation temperature in the DMSO–kaolinite complexes, indicating a decrease in the interlayer cohesion that may be useful to improve the delamination of kaolinite. The analysis of the coherent scattering domain size in the raw and the DMSO-intercalated samples indicates that the ordering is not affected during the DMSO intercalation. From these results, it is deduced that DMSO intercalation is favored by an increased crystallinity, as revealed by the intercalation ratio from XRD and the DSMO release during DSC-TGA analysis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Synthesis of Single-Phase Zeolite A by Coal Gasification Fine Slag from Ningdong and Its Application as a High-Efficiency Adsorbent for Cu2+ and Pb2+ in Simulated Waste Water
ChemEngineering 2020, 4(4), 65; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/chemengineering4040065 - 11 Dec 2020
Viewed by 428
Abstract
Coal gasification is a new direction for the clean utilization of coal, but it also brings huge environmental pressure on solid waste. In this paper, the high-crystallinity single-phase zeolite A was prepared by solid-phase alkali fusion synthesis from coal gasification fine slag (CGFS), [...] Read more.
Coal gasification is a new direction for the clean utilization of coal, but it also brings huge environmental pressure on solid waste. In this paper, the high-crystallinity single-phase zeolite A was prepared by solid-phase alkali fusion synthesis from coal gasification fine slag (CGFS), without template agent, with low water consumption, and with low cost, and it was used to remove heavy metals such as Pb2+ and Cu2+ in simulated waste water. The main factors affecting the solid-phase and green synthesis methods were analyzed, and the optimum conditions for solid-phase synthesis of high-crystallinity single-phase zeolite A were determined as follows: NaOH/CGFS = 1.2; solid-phase alkali fusion temperature 823 K, solid-phase alkali fusion 90 min, liquid–solid ratio 4.5, and 353 K hydrothermal reaction for 12 h. The relative crystallinity, specific surface area, and ion-exchange capacity of single-phase zeolites A are 93.1%, 61.09 m2/g, and 268.4 mmol/100 g. The removal rates of Pb2+ and Cu2+ can reach more than 99%, especially for the removal efficiency of Pb2+, which is common in simulated waste water. This is an effective method with important application prospects, and it formed an effective way to recycle solid waste of coal chemical industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Chemical Engineering and Multidisciplinary)
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Cavitation and Mixing Conditions on Oil Droplet Size in Simultaneous Homogenization and Mixing (SHM)
ChemEngineering 2020, 4(4), 64; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/chemengineering4040064 - 09 Dec 2020
Viewed by 544
Abstract
High-pressure homogenizers (HPH) equipped with a Simultaneous Homogenization and Mixing (SHM) orifice allow for inducing a mixing stream directly into the disruption unit. Previous studies show that by doing so, synergies between the unit operations “emulsification” and “mixing” can be used to save [...] Read more.
High-pressure homogenizers (HPH) equipped with a Simultaneous Homogenization and Mixing (SHM) orifice allow for inducing a mixing stream directly into the disruption unit. Previous studies show that by doing so, synergies between the unit operations “emulsification” and “mixing” can be used to save energy, e.g., in homogenization of dairy products, or to extend the application range of HPH. Up to now, process design has mainly been based on the trial and error principle due to incomplete understanding of flow conditions and droplet break-up in the SHM unit. This study aims at a higher level of understanding of cavitation and mixing effects on emulsion droplet size. Experimental data were obtained using a model emulsion of low disperse phase concentration in order to avoid coalescence effects. The different flow conditions are created by varying the process and geometric parameters of an SHM unit. The results show that the oil droplet size only depends on mixing conditions when the emulsion droplets are added in the mixing stream. Furthermore, a smaller oil droplet size can be achieved by reducing cavitation, especially for droplets fed in the high-pressure stream. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emulsion Process Design)
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Open AccessReview
The Importance of Interfacial Tension in Emulsification: Connecting Scaling Relations Used in Large Scale Preparation with Microfluidic Measurement Methods
ChemEngineering 2020, 4(4), 63; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/chemengineering4040063 - 07 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 617
Abstract
This paper starts with short descriptions of emulsion preparation methods used at large and smaller scales. We give scaling relations as they are generally used, and focus on the central role that interfacial tension plays in these relations. The actual values of the [...] Read more.
This paper starts with short descriptions of emulsion preparation methods used at large and smaller scales. We give scaling relations as they are generally used, and focus on the central role that interfacial tension plays in these relations. The actual values of the interfacial tension are far from certain given the dynamic behavior of surface-active components, and the lack of measurement methods that can be applied to conditions as they occur during large-scale preparation. Microfluidic techniques are expected to be very instrumental in closing this gap. Reduction of interfacial tension resulting from emulsifier adsorption at the oil-water interface is a complex process that consists of various steps. We discuss them here, and present methods used to probe them. Specifically, methods based on microfluidic tools are of great interest to study short droplet formation times, and also coalescence behavior of droplets. We present the newest insights in this field, which are expected to bring interfacial tension observations to a level that is of direct relevance for the large-scale preparation of emulsions, and that of other multi-phase products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emulsion Process Design)
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Open AccessArticle
Understanding Catalysis—A Simplified Simulation of Catalytic Reactors for CO2 Reduction
ChemEngineering 2020, 4(4), 62; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/chemengineering4040062 - 20 Nov 2020
Viewed by 730
Abstract
The realistic numerical simulation of chemical processes, such as those occurring in catalytic reactors, is a complex undertaking, requiring knowledge of chemical thermodynamics, multi-component activated rate equations, coupled flows of material and heat, etc. A standard approach is to make use of a [...] Read more.
The realistic numerical simulation of chemical processes, such as those occurring in catalytic reactors, is a complex undertaking, requiring knowledge of chemical thermodynamics, multi-component activated rate equations, coupled flows of material and heat, etc. A standard approach is to make use of a process simulation program package. However for a basic understanding, it may be advantageous to sacrifice some realism and to independently reproduce, in essence, the package computations. Here, we set up and numerically solve the basic equations governing the functioning of plug-flow reactors (PFR) and continuously stirred tank reactors (CSTR), and we demonstrate the procedure with simplified cases of the catalytic hydrogenation of carbon dioxide to form the synthetic fuels methanol and methane, each of which involves five chemical species undergoing three coupled chemical reactions. We show how to predict final product concentrations as a function of the catalyst system, reactor parameters, initial reactant concentrations, temperature, and pressure. Further, we use the numerical solutions to verify the “thermodynamic limit” of a PFR and a CSTR, and, for a PFR, to demonstrate the enhanced efficiency obtainable by “looping” and “sorption-enhancement”. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Pressure, Velocity and Fluid Material on Heat Transport in Structured Open-Cell Foam Reactors Investigated Using CFD Simulations
ChemEngineering 2020, 4(4), 61; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/chemengineering4040061 - 14 Nov 2020
Viewed by 568
Abstract
Structured open-cell foam reactors are promising for managing highly exothermic reactions such as CO2 methanation due to their excellent heat transport properties. Especially at low flow rates and under dynamic operation, foam-based reactors can be advantageous over classic fixed-bed reactors. To efficiently [...] Read more.
Structured open-cell foam reactors are promising for managing highly exothermic reactions such as CO2 methanation due to their excellent heat transport properties. Especially at low flow rates and under dynamic operation, foam-based reactors can be advantageous over classic fixed-bed reactors. To efficiently design the catalyst carriers, a thorough understanding of heat transport mechanisms is needed. So far, studies on heat transport in foams have mostly focused on the solid phase and used air at atmospheric pressure as fluid phase. With the aid of pore-scale 3d CFD simulations, we analyze the effect of the fluid properties on heat transport under conditions close to the CO2 methanation reaction for two different foam structures. The exothermicity is mimicked via volumetric uniformly distributed heat sources. We found for foams that are designed to be used as catalyst carriers that the working pressure range and the superficial velocity influence the dominant heat removal mechanism significantly. In contrast, the influence of fluid type and gravity on heat removal is small in the range relevant for heterogeneous catalysis. The findings might help to facilitate the design-process of open-cell foam reactors and to better understand heat transport mechanisms in foams. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Development of a Pressure Stable Inline Droplet Generator with Live Droplet Size Measurement
ChemEngineering 2020, 4(4), 60; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/chemengineering4040060 - 10 Nov 2020
Viewed by 565
Abstract
For the research on droplet deformation and breakup in scaled high-pressure homogenizing units, a pressure stable inline droplet generator was developed. It consists of an optically accessible flow channel with a combination of stainless steel and glass capillaries and a 3D printed orifice. [...] Read more.
For the research on droplet deformation and breakup in scaled high-pressure homogenizing units, a pressure stable inline droplet generator was developed. It consists of an optically accessible flow channel with a combination of stainless steel and glass capillaries and a 3D printed orifice. The droplet size is determined online by live image analysis. The influence of the orifice diameter, the mass flow of the continuous phase and the mass flow of the disperse phase on the droplet diameter were investigated. Furthermore, the droplet detachment mechanisms were identified. Droplet diameters with a small diameter fluctuation between 175 µm and 500 µm could be realized, which allows a precise adjustment of the capillary (Ca) and Weber (We) Number in the subsequent scaled high pressure homogenizer disruption unit. The determined influence of geometry and process parameters on the resulting droplet size and droplet detachment mechanism agreed well with the literature on microfluidics. Furthermore, droplet trajectories in an exemplary scaled high-pressure homogenizer disruption unit are presented which show that the droplets can be reinjected on a trajectory close to the center axis or close to the wall, which should result in different stresses on the droplets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emulsion Process Design)
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Open AccessArticle
Porous Fiber Processing and Manufacturing for Energy Storage Applications
ChemEngineering 2020, 4(4), 59; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/chemengineering4040059 - 03 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 687
Abstract
The objective of this article is to provide an overview on the current development of micro- and nanoporous fiber processing and manufacturing technologies. Various methods for making micro- and nanoporous fibers including co-electrospinning, melt spinning, dry jet-wet quenching spinning, vapor deposition, template assisted [...] Read more.
The objective of this article is to provide an overview on the current development of micro- and nanoporous fiber processing and manufacturing technologies. Various methods for making micro- and nanoporous fibers including co-electrospinning, melt spinning, dry jet-wet quenching spinning, vapor deposition, template assisted deposition, electrochemical oxidization, and hydrothermal oxidization are presented. Comparison is made in terms of advantages and disadvantages of different routes for porous fiber processing. Characterization of the pore size, porosity, and specific area is introduced as well. Applications of porous fibers in various fields are discussed. The emphasis is put on their uses for energy storage components and devices including rechargeable batteries and supercapacitors. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Photocatalytic Degradation of a Systemic Herbicide: Picloram from Aqueous Solution Using Titanium Oxide (TiO2) under Sunlight
ChemEngineering 2020, 4(4), 58; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/chemengineering4040058 - 27 Oct 2020
Viewed by 654
Abstract
The photocatalytic degradation of picloram (4-amino-3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridincarboxylic acid), which is one of popular acidic herbicide, was investigated with the existence of titanium oxide (TiO2) under sunlight. The total photocatalytic degradation of 20 ppm of picloram was occurred within 30 min irradiation with [...] Read more.
The photocatalytic degradation of picloram (4-amino-3,5,6-trichloro-2-pyridincarboxylic acid), which is one of popular acidic herbicide, was investigated with the existence of titanium oxide (TiO2) under sunlight. The total photocatalytic degradation of 20 ppm of picloram was occurred within 30 min irradiation with TiO2, while a negligible degradation was found without TiO2 under sunlight. The influence of various parameters, like TiO2 dosage, solution initial pH, intensity of light, reaction temperature and irradiation time, was found during the photocatalytic degradation of picloram. The mineralization of picloram was proved by the deterioration of total organic carbon (TOC) of the photocatalytic process. The pseudo–first order kinetics of photocatalytic degradation was obtained according to the Langmuir–Hinshelwood model, and the reaction rate constant was 17.6 × 10−2 min−1. Chloride ion, ammonium ion, nitrate ion and CO2 were erected as the final products after completing the photocatalytic degradation of picloram. The intermediate products could not be determined by the GC–MS during the degradation of picloram. Therefore, the degradation mechanism of the picloram was proposed based on the frontier electron density and the point charge at each atom of the picloram molecule. The photocatalytic degradation method, using sunlight, may develop into as a pragmatic technique to purify picloram contaminated wastewater. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Rheology and Catastrophic Phase Inversion of Emulsions in the Presence of Starch Nanoparticles
ChemEngineering 2020, 4(4), 57; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/chemengineering4040057 - 19 Oct 2020
Viewed by 747
Abstract
Emulsions stabilized by solid nanoparticles, referred to as Pickering emulsions, are becoming increasingly important in applications as they are free of surfactants. However, the bulk properties and stability of Pickering emulsions are far from being well understood. In this work, the rheological behavior [...] Read more.
Emulsions stabilized by solid nanoparticles, referred to as Pickering emulsions, are becoming increasingly important in applications as they are free of surfactants. However, the bulk properties and stability of Pickering emulsions are far from being well understood. In this work, the rheological behavior and catastrophic phase inversion of emulsions in the presence of starch nanoparticles were studied using in-situ measurements of viscosity and electrical conductivity. The aqueous phase consisting of starch nanoparticles was added sequentially in increments of 5% vol. to the oil phase under agitation condition to prepare the emulsions. The emulsions were water-in-oil (W/O) type at low to moderate concentrations of aqueous phase. At a certain critical volume fraction of aqueous phase, catastrophic phase inversion of W/O emulsion to oil-in-water (O/W) emulsion took place accompanied a sharp jump in the electrical conductivity and a sharp drop in the emulsion viscosity. The W/O emulsions were nearly Newtonian at low concentrations of aqueous phase. At high concentrations of aqueous phase, prior to phase inversion, the W/O emulsions exhibited a shear-thickening behavior. The O/W emulsions produced after phase inversion were shear-thinning in nature. The comparison of the experimental viscosity data with the predictions of emulsion viscosity model revealed only partial coverage of droplet surfaces with nanoparticles. With the increase in the concentration of starch nanoparticles (SNPs) in the aqueous phase of the emulsions, the phase inversion of W/O emulsion to O/W emulsion was delayed to higher volume fraction of aqueous phase. Thus SNPs imparted some stability to W/O emulsions against coalescence and phase inversion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emulsion Process Design)
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Open AccessArticle
Volume of Fluid Computations of Gas Entrainment and Void Fraction for Plunging Liquid Jets to Aerate Wastewater
ChemEngineering 2020, 4(4), 56; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/chemengineering4040056 - 18 Oct 2020
Viewed by 629
Abstract
Among various mechanisms for enhancing the interfacial area between gases and liquids, a vertical liquid jet striking a still liquid is considered an effective method. This method has vast industrial and environmental applications, where a significant application of this method is to aerate [...] Read more.
Among various mechanisms for enhancing the interfacial area between gases and liquids, a vertical liquid jet striking a still liquid is considered an effective method. This method has vast industrial and environmental applications, where a significant application of this method is to aerate industrial effluents and wastewater treatment. Despite the huge interest and experimental and numerical efforts made by the academic and scientific community in this topic, there is still a need of further study to realize improved theoretical and computational schemes to narrow the gap between the measured and the computed entrained air. The present study is a numerical attempt to highlight the air being entrained by water jet when it intrudes into a still water surface in a tank by the application of a Volume of Fluid (VOF) scheme. The VOF scheme, along with a piecewise linear interface construction (PLIC) algorithm, is useful to follow the interface of the air and water bubbly plume and thus can provide an estimate of the volume fraction for the gas and the liquid. Dimensionless scaling derived from the Fronde number and Reynolds number along with geometric similarities due to the liquid jet’s length and nozzle diameter have been incorporated to validate the experimental data on air entrainment, penetration and void fraction. The VOF simulations for void fraction and air-water mixing and air jet’s penetration into the water were found more comparable to the measured values than those obtained using empirical and Euler-Euler methods. Although, small overestimates of air entrainment rate compared to the experiments have been found, however, VOF was found effective in reducing the gap between measurements and simulations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Modelling Complex Particle–Fluid Flow with a Discrete Element Method Coupled with Lattice Boltzmann Methods (DEM-LBM)
ChemEngineering 2020, 4(4), 55; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/chemengineering4040055 - 07 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 810
Abstract
Particle–fluid flows are ubiquitous in nature and industry. Understanding the dynamic behaviour of these complex flows becomes a rapidly developing interdisciplinary research focus. In this work, a numerical modelling approach for complex particle–fluid flows using the discrete element method coupled with the lattice [...] Read more.
Particle–fluid flows are ubiquitous in nature and industry. Understanding the dynamic behaviour of these complex flows becomes a rapidly developing interdisciplinary research focus. In this work, a numerical modelling approach for complex particle–fluid flows using the discrete element method coupled with the lattice Boltzmann method (DEM-LBM) is presented. The discrete element method and the lattice Boltzmann method, as well as the coupling techniques, are discussed in detail. The DEM-LBM is thoroughly validated for typical benchmark cases: the single-phase Poiseuille flow, the gravitational settling and the drag force on a fixed particle. In order to demonstrate the potential and applicability of DEM-LBM, three case studies are performed, which include the inertial migration of dense particle suspensions, the agglomeration of adhesive particle flows in channel flow and the sedimentation of particles in cavity flow. It is shown that DEM-LBM is a robust numerical approach for analysing complex particle–fluid flows. Full article
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