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A differential model for a countercurrent extractor column with non-constant flow rates, interfacial area per unit volume and axial dispersion coefficients



In the extraction literature, no attention has been given so far to differential calculation models for countercurrent extraction columns which take into account the changes in flow rates of the phases as a result of transferred mass, and which also reflect the variations in interfacial area per unit volume and in axial dispersion coefficients since these depend on the flow rates. The present contribution puts forward a formulation of such a model; this results in a set of non-linear differential equations with separated boundary conditions, representing the feeds at either side of the extraction column. This set of differential equations must be solved numerically. The model is illustrated by a sample calculation on the extraction of benzene with furfural. In this (realistic) example, the interfacial area per unit volume varies from bottom to top by a factor of 3. Ignoring this effect would obviously result in serious under- or overdesign.

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