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MSMPR Crystallization equipment

Department Editor: Scott Jenkins

rystallization is a key purification technique


for various sectors of the chemical process
industries (CPI). Several approaches for
industrial crystallization have evolved over time
and highly specialized crystallizer designs have
been developed, especially in long-established
industries. Solution crystallization is an important unit operation because the
process can generate high-purity
Recirculation
products from solutions containpipe
ing significant levels of impurities
with relatively low energy input.
One scheme for classifying
this equipment is according to
Steam
the method used to suspend the
inlet
growing crystals. In this scheme,
a class of equipment known as
Heat
exchanger
mixed-suspension, mixed-product-removal (MSMPR) crystallizers is most important for the CPI. Condensate

MSMPR

Cooling
water inlet

Non-condensable
gas outlet

Cooling
water

Air
ejector

Barometric
condenser

Body

Barometric
condenser
Boiling
surface

Body

Draft
tube

Slurry

Skirt baffle

Settling
zone

Circulating
pipe

Source for
diagrams:
Perrys Chemical
Engineers'
Handbook,
Swenson Process
Equipment

Swirl breaker
Circulating pipe

Elutriation leg

Heating element
Expansion
joint

Feed
inlet

Product
discharge

Clarified
mother
liquor
Settler

Propeller

outlet

Circulation
pipe

Propeller
drive

Steam
Product
discharge

MSMPR crystallizers, also


Feed
inlet
known as magma-circulation
Condensate
crystallizers, have found
widespread application in the
Forced-circulation (evaporative) crystallizer
Draft-tube-baffle (DTB) crystallizer
CPI for continuous crystallization. In this configuration, a feed
solution is continuously introduced
against which the circulator must pump.
supersaturation by the deposition of solute.
into the crystallizer, which is equipped with
Internal circulators reduce the power input and
Crystallizers should operate with a minimum
a mechanism to create supersaturation. An
circulator tip speed, and thereby reduce the
10 wt.% suspended crystals (slurry density)
agitation device allows mixing of the feed
rate of nucleation, which is influenced signifi Contact the supersaturated liquor quickly with
with the contents of the crystallizer and also
cantly by mechanical circulation. The DTB is an
crystals to avoid losses due to time decay
maintains a uniform suspension in the mother
example (diagram, right). In this type, a large,
Destroy excess nuclei via fines destruction
liquor inside the crystallizer. A stream of slurry
slow-moving propeller is surrounded by a draft
configurations. Seeding the crystallizer with
is continuously removed from the crystallizer in
tube within the body that directs the slurry to
fines will lower crystal size
such a way that the fractions of solid particles
the liquid surface to prevent solids from short Minimize secondary nucleation by keeping
and the particle size distribution in the slurry
circuiting the zone of most intense supersaturamechanical energy input and crystal attrition
inside the equipment equals that of the slurry
tion. Slurry that has been cooled is returned
as low as possible
removed from the crystallizer.
to the bottom of the vessel and recirculated
Maintain high slurry densities. In general,
through
the
propeller,
where
heated
solution
is
Examples
high densities can produce larger average
mixed with the recirculating slurry. A finescrystal size as long as crystal attrition is not
Among the group of MSMPR-type crystallizers,
destruction feature is common, where a heating
a negative influence
some of the most common are the forced-circuelement is used to raise the temperature of the
Minimize solids buildup by eliminating locallation (FC), draft-tube (DT) and draft-tube-baffle
solution removed from a settler to destroy the
ized heat- and mass-transfer gradients
(DTB) crystallizers.
small crystalline particles that are withdrawn.
Ensure adequate velocities and operation
The baffle can be omitted in cases where fines
at low temperature gradients across heatForced-circulation crystallizers
destruction is not needed or wanted.
exchange equipment
This type of MSMPR crystallizer consists of a
In DT and DTB crystallizers, the circula Avoid fluctuations in operating conditions,
body through which a slurry of growing crystion rate is generally much greater than that
such as vacuum, residence time and contals flows, and a tube-and-shell heat exchanger,
achieved in a forced circulation device. Therecentrations. Employ wash nozzles at liquid
which increases temperatures without vaporizafore, DT and DTB crystallizers are applied
interfaces
tion (diagram, left). Heated slurry returns to the
when it is necessary to circulate large quanti Provide a chemical environment (impurities
body via a recirculation line, where it mixes
ties of slurry and minimize supersaturation
and additives) that favors the desired crystal
with the body slurry and raises the temperature
levels within the equipment. These types are
shape, purity and size distribution
locally, near the point of entry. During the concommonly used in the production of granular
Maintain longer crystal retention times,
sequent cooling and vaporization to achieve
materials, such as ammonium sulfate, potaswhich can result in less liquor occlusions in
equilibrium between liquid and vapor, the
sium chloride and other inorganic and organic
the crystals
supersaturation created causes deposits on the
crystals for which product in the range of 8 to
Keep the feed to the crystallizer slightly
swirling body of suspended crystals until they
30 mesh is required.
unsaturated
leave again through the circulating pipe. The
lower limit for economic continuous operation
Operating Principles
References
of forced-circulation crystallizers is 14 ton/d
1. Sutradhar, B.C. Coping with Crystallization Problems.
of crystals, and the upper limit for a single
Basic good-operating principles for solution
Chem. Eng., March 2004, pp. 4652.
vessel is 100300 ton/d of crystals. Units in
crystallization apply regardless of what type
2. S
 chweitzer, P.A. Handbook of Separation Techniques
parallel can reach higher capacities.
for Chemical Engineers, 3rd ed. McGraw-Hill, New
of crystallization equipment is used. The followYork, 1997.
ing represent some of these concepts:
3. Perrys Chemical Engineers Handbook, 7th ed.
DTB and DT evaporator-crystallizers
Control the level of supersaturation to ensure
McGraw-Hill, New York, 1997.
A number of designs have been developed
low nucleation rates
4. Couper, James. Chemical Process Equipment:
with circulators located within the body of
Maintain an adequate slurry density to
Selection and Design, Gulf Professional Publishing,
the crystallizer in an effort to reduce the head
provide sufficient surface area to relieve
Houston, 2010.