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Process Intensification
Rethinking Process Separations



Mass transfer Contactors: Distillation, stripping & absorption

The combination of all identical holes, very short pore length and high chemical and thermal resistance have resulted in the application of the fluXXion technology to make mass transfer contactor plates for the separation of chemical mixtures. By using these contactor plates as an intermediate between a gas and liquid, a very intense contact is created between the gas and the liquid at which an almost instant gas-liquid equilibrium is established.

The contactor concept is well-known in the industry and tried with a variety of different contactor materials, however all in vain due to limitations in pore size, pore length and reproducibility of the material.

Distillation is a method of separating mixtures based on differences in their volatilities in a boiling liquid mixture. Distillation is a well known and widely used unit operation in chemicals and oil refining.

It is used to separate e.g. crude oil and refined products into more fractions for specific uses, bulk chemicals such as ethylene/ethane separation. Water is distilled to remove impurities, such as salt from seawater. Air is distilled to separate its components—notably oxygen, nitrogen, and argon—for industrial use. Distillation of fermented solutions has been used to produce distilled beverages with a higher alcohol content.

Stripping is the transferring of volatile components of a liquid into a gas stream. It is a chemical engineering technology used for a.o. the purification of waters containing low concentration of volatile compounds.

Volatile compounds have relatively high vapor pressure and low aqueous solubility characterized by the compound’s dimensionless Henry's law coefficient, which is the ratio of the concentration in air that is in equilibrium with its concentration in water. Pollutants with relatively high Henry’s Law coefficients can be economically stripped from water. These include BTEX compounds (benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene found in gasoline, and solvents including trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene. Ammonia can also be stripped from wastewaters. Since Henry’s law coefficient increases with temperature, stripping is easier at higher temperatures.

Absorption, in chemistry, is a physical or chemical phenomenon or a process in which atoms, molecules, or ions enter some bulk phase - gas or liquid. This is a different process from adsorption, since molecules undergoing absorption are taken up by the volume, not by the surface (as in the case for adsorption).absorption is a well know operation, e.g., for the capture of carbon dioxide from flue gases. With the upcoming need for large scale CCS (carbon capture and storage) more effective absorption techniques are attracting significant attention.

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R.C. Costello & Assoc., Inc.
1611 S. Pacific Coast Highway, Suite 210
Redondo Beach, CA 90277
Tel: (310) 792-5870, Fax: (310) 792-5877
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