In this study, a salt solution of known concentration was run through a spray dryer in order to develop a material and energy balance for the system. Now that a reliable method for completing these balances has been determined, first year students will be asked to complete this laboratory with the guidance of their professors and teaching assistants. Ultimately, the goals of this laboratory are to aid students in:
- Developing the ability to write both a material and energy balance
- Learning what a spray dryer is, what is does, and how to operate it
Being able to write both a material and energy balance is essential to becoming a successful engineer. From a material balance, unknown variables in a process can be calculated. For example, if you are given a desired product flow rate for a given process, a material balance is necessary to determine what flow rate is required form the reactant(s). Furthermore, it is often a good idea to check a process using balances; if mass and energy are being conserved according to these balances, this is a good indication that your numbers are correct.
Becoming familiar with a spray dryer is also beneficial to a student as it is used in many chemical engineering processes. A spray dryer is a processing unit, which produces a dry powder from a liquid or slurry by rapidly drying it with hot air. It is particularly useful for thermally sensitive materials; therefore, spray dryers are often used when processing foods and pharmaceuticals.
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