Rational Design and Operation of Packed Bed Adsorption Reactors

by Federico G. A. Vagliasindi,
David W. Hendricks,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: North American Water and Environment Congress & Destructive Water


Design of packed bed adsorption reactors is based presently upon the parameter empty bed contact time (EBCT), a fallacious concept. The column wave front behavior, instead, should be the basis for a rational practice for design, for pilot plant studies, and for characterizing the operation of packed bed reactors. The wave front behavior, i.e., its velocity, length, and shape, reflects the influences of all the variables governing the adsorption process in a packed bed reactor. This paper provides a rational approach to design of packed bed adsorption reactors based upon materials balance principle, combined with kinetic modeling. The basis for determining the length of the column should be the length of the wave front, its velocity, and the intended time of operation. The length of the wave front can be determined most easily by a simple and limited pilot plant study. The velocity of the wave front depends upon isotherm data. These concepts provide the basis for reducing complex theory into simple guidelines for design and operation.

Subject Headings: Wave velocity | Adsorption | Equipment and machinery | Bed materials | Wave reflection | Structural behavior | Parameters (statistics)

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