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Process Intensification by Ultrasound Controlled Cavitation
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Operation, Maintenance and Acoustics. (Engineering Acoustics)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4657-6844
2019 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Process industries are cornerstones in today’s industrialized society. They contribute significantly in the manufacturing of various goods and products that are used in our day-to-day life. Our society’s paradigm of consumerism accompanied by a rise in global population drives an ever increasing demand for goods. One of many strategies developed to satisfy these demands and at the same time improve production capabilities is known as process intensification. As an example, this can be accomplished by implementation of devices using the principle of hydrodynamic and acoustic cavitation. High-intensity cavitation in the ultrasonic range can change the physical and chemical properties of a wide range of substances and hence, improve the production rate or quality.

Despite the generally accepted benefits of hydrodynamic and acoustic cavitation, applications in the process industry are yet limited. The reasons are that the method requires extensive optimization, which depends on multiple process parameters and encounters problem in the implementation on a larger scale. Scalable cavitation reactor concepts for industrial applications need to meet challenges like stability and robustness, energy efficiency and high flow rates. This thesis focuses on the methodology for the design and optimization of a flow through cavitation reactor.

An ultrasound reactor concept has been developed and tested for two different applications: i) Fibrillation processes typical for paper and pulp industry; ii) Metal leaching of mineral concentrates. Simulations were carried out using a commercially available software for multiphysics modeling which combines acoustics, structural dynamics, fluid dynamics and piezoelectrics. However, the optimization procedure requires extensive experimental work in parallel with multi-physical simulations. In general, the application leads to hydrodynamic initiation of small gas bubbles in the fluid to be excited and collapsed by high-intensity ultrasound. This transient collapse of the cavitation bubbles provides both mechanical and chemical effect on materials.

The developed reactor has a power conversion efficiency of 36% in batch mode and is well suited for a scale-up. In flow-through mode, the cavitation effect improves extensively and provides stable results. Energy efficiency requires hydrodynamic initiation of cavitation bubbles, high acoustic cavitation intensity by multiple excitation frequencies adapted to the optimized reactor geometry, as well as optimal process pressure and temperature with respect to the materials to be treated. The impact of flow conditions and hydrodynamic cavitation is significant and almost doubles the yield at the same ultrasonic power input.

In the case of fibrillation of cellulose fibers, results obtained indicate that generated cavitation intensity changes the mechanical properties of the fiber wall. In the case of leaching, experiments show that six hours of exposure gave a 57% recovery of tungsten from the scheelite concentrate at 80°C and atmospheric pressure. Future research will focus on different types of excitation signals, extended reactor volume, increased flow rates and use of a higher process temperature. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Luleå: Luleå University of Technology, 2019.
Series
Licentiate thesis / Luleå University of Technology, ISSN 1402-1757
Keywords [en]
Ultrasound, Acoustic and hydrodynamic cavitation, Process intensification, Sonochemistry
National Category
Fluid Mechanics and Acoustics
Research subject
Engineering Acoustics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-73856ISBN: 978-91-7790-384-0 (print)ISBN: 978-91-7790-385-7 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-73856DiVA, id: diva2:1313908
Presentation
2019-09-04, F231, Luleå University of Technology, Luleå, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish Energy Agency, 166518Available from: 2019-05-07 Created: 2019-05-06 Last updated: 2019-07-12Bibliographically approved

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Pamidi, Taraka Rama Krishna

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