Published: CABEQ 15 (2) (2001) 49–57
Paper type: Original Scientific Paper

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Performance Characteristics of a Monolith-like Structured Packing

M. Behrens, P. P. Saraber, H. Jansen and Ž. Olujić

In recent years, the monolith, in the meantime widespread in automotive applications as exhaust gas converter, has emerged as an efficient, low-pressure drop phase contacting device. More demanding, heterogeneous catalysis applications are now being investigated. In general, a structure, which brings reactants efficiently into contact with the solid catalyst under co- and counter current conditions, should be considered also suitable for common mass transfer operations, such as distillation. This paper describes results of a combined experimental and modelling effort undertaken to evaluate the hydraulic and mass transfer characteristics of monolithic structured packings. By inserting flat sheets between corrugated sheets the open channel packing geometry was transformed into a monolith-like structure with a multiplicity of closed inclined triangular channels. In this way the specific surface area was increased considerably. Although against common sense on first sight, the increase in surface area led to a significant reduction in pressure drop, accompanied by an appreciable capacity increase with respect to that of the original packing. However, closed channel structure proved to be very detrimental to mass transfer efficiency. This experience has led to conclusion that monolith structures with inclined channels are not suitable for counter-current gas/liquid contacting operations.

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Monolith, structured packing, capacity, mass transfer efficiency, distillation, pressure drop