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Spray drying

Keywords: Spray drying    Publish Time: 12-10-2010

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Laboratory-scale spray dryer.
A=Solution or suspension to be dried in, B=Atomization gas in, 1= Drying gas in, 2=Heating of drying gas, 3=Spraying of solution or suspension, 4=Drying chamber, 5=Part between drying chamber and cyclone, 6=Cyclone, 7=Drying gas is taken away, 8=Collection vessel of product, arrows mean that this is co-current lab-spraydryerSpray drying is a method of producing a dry powder from a liquid or slurry by rapidly drying with a hot gas. This is the preferred method of drying of many thermally-sensitive materials such as foods and pharmaceuticals. A consistent particle size distribution is a reason for spray drying some industrial products such as catalysts. Air is the heated drying media; however, if the liquid is a flammable solvent such as ethanol or the product is oxygen-sensitive then nitrogen is used.[1]

All spray dryers use some type of atomizer or spray nozzle to disperse the liquid or slurry into a controlled drop size spray. The most common of these are rotary nozzles and single-fluid pressure swirl nozzles. Alternatively, for some applications two-fluid or ultrasonic nozzle are used. Depending on the process needs drop sizes from 10 to 500 micrometres can be achieved with the appropriate choices. The most common applications are in the 100 to 200 micrometre diameter range. The dry powder is often free-flowing.[2]

The hot drying gas can be passed as a co-current or counter-current flow to the atomiser direction. The co-current flow enables the particles to have a lower residence time within the system and the particle separator (typically a cyclone device) operates more efficiently. The counter-current flow method enables a greater residence time of the particles in the chamber and usually is paired with a fluidised bed system.

Alternatives to spray dryers are:[3]

1.Freeze dryer: a more-expensive batch process for products that degrade in spray drying. Dry product is not free-flowing.
2.Drum dryer: a less-expensive continuous process for low-value products; creates flakes instead of free-flowing powder.
3.Pulse combustion dryer: A less-expensive continuous process that can handle higher viscosities and solids loading than a spray dryer, and that sometimes gives a freeze-dry quality powder that is free-flowing.

 

 

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spray_drying