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Title: Improved utilization of desiccant material in packed bed dehumidifier using composite particles
Authors: Ramzy, K., A.
Kadoli, R.
Ashok, Babu, T.P.
Issue Date: 2011
Citation: Renewable Energy, 2011, Vol.36, 2, pp.732-742
Abstract: Solid desiccant dehumidifiers are widely used in drying processes. In most of these dehumidifiers, the desiccant material is used as packed bed of granule or spherical particles. Investigations of intra-particle heat and mass transfer processes has shown that the entire portion of the particle is not participating effectively during adsorption as well as desorption processes [Pesaran AA, Mills F. Moisture transport in silica gel packed beds-I. Theoretical study. International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer 1987; 30: 1037-49]. This is because the diffusion rate is very small compared to that of convection. In the present work, a new desiccant composite particle, in which the unutilized portion of the spherical desiccant particle is replaced with an inert particle, is proposed. By replacing the conventional particles with composite particles for the same mass of desiccant material, the available area for heat and mass transfer increases and more amount of desiccant material is effectively utilized. Further, in order to ascertain the improvement in the performance of the desiccant bed using the composite particles, various factors like thermo-physical properties of the inert material, composite particle thickness ratio, bed configuration, bed volume, the pressure drop and the increase in total adsorbed or desorbed mass have to be considered. In view of this, a theoretical investigation of the operation of vertical solid desiccant packed bed dehumidifier, using both conventional silica gel particles as well as the new proposed composite silica gel particles has been reported. A modified solid side resistance (MSSR) model is developed for the prediction of intra-particle temperature and water content profiles. Results of the present theoretical models, when applied to packed bed of conventional silica gel particles, agree well with the experimental results from the literature for both desorption and adsorption processes. From the theoretical results, more utilization for the desiccant material is obtained when ordinary silica gel particles are replaced by composite silica gel particles. For the same amount of desiccant material and same mass flow rate of air, using particles of 0.2 thickness ratio the pressure drop decreases by about 60% for the case investigated. In addition, an increase of about 11.07% and 20.46% in total mass adsorbed and desorbed respectively are obtained. At the time when adsorption process ends, an increase of 15.5% in the bed effectiveness has been obtained. In addition, the expected improvement in total mass adsorbed and desorbed is observed to be dependent on the inert material thermo-physical properties for thickness ratio less than 0.5. An optimization technique relating the composite particle design, resulting savings in pressure drop and bed volume increase is proposed. 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
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