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Abstract

The present contribution reports on a new method for the simulation of the dispersed phase behaviour in liquid-liquid extraction columns. The fluid dynamic description is based on a mathematical model which explicitly takes into account drop transport, break-up and coalescence mechanisms, via a drop population balance along the column. Application of the model requires some simple measurements on single drops in order to determine transport and break-up laws, which are required by the model, and possibly also coalescence parameters. In this study the model is applied to pulsed sieve plate columns. The specific example considered here is based on systematic studies on the determination of break-up rates from the corresponding probabilities of break-up and the generated daughter drop size distributions by means of high-speed photography. The validity of the model was subsequently tested by comparison with some experimental results from studies on two different pulsed columns 80 and 225 mm in diameter for the water/toluene system without mass transfer. The satisfactory agreement between the results justifies the use of such a method for the description of the behaviour of liquid-liquid extraction columns in a wide range of operating conditions. Furthermore, application of the model may help to dispense with long and expensive pilot tests.