Press Release (ePRNews.com) - TORONTO - Mar 12, 2018 - The polymer industry uses many types of equipment and technologies to process solids, liquids and gases.
In a live session upcoming on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, at 1 p.m. EDT, experts from Bepex including Isaac Willard, thermal application engineer, and Scott Halvorsen, director of thermal technology, will discuss current trends and technologies for industries using bulk solids, including automotive, aerospace, batteries, blended nylons and more.
A common direct heat transfer application is the removal of water from a heat-sensitive material using hot air as the heat transfer medium. Direct heat transfer equipment uses evaporative cooling to prevent degradation of the process material upon drying. In contrast, indirect heat transfer is typically used in drying applications where the solvent is not water (i.e., flammable organic solvent) and utility use of nitrogen to produce an inert environment needs to be minimized.
Typically, direct thermal technologies have a lower CAPEX cost and higher utility cost than indirect thermal technologies. The long-term utility cost can impact the payback of a project to such a degree that the utility usage of the direct thermal equipment will outweigh the larger initial CAPEX cost of the indirect thermal equipment.
The devolatilization of polymers is a crucial part of almost every polymer production process and its importance is often overlooked. Volatiles generally consist of un-reacted monomers, hydrocarbon solvents and/or water. Successful operation of downstream equipment (e.g., extrusion) often requires devolatilization. The volatiles can be removed during extrusion or post extrusion, however, the most cost-effective processing technique is to devolatilize prior to the polymer going into a molten phase because devolatilization is a function of specific surface area. Polymer material in granular form has a large specific surface area relative to polymer material that has passed through a molten phase.
Bepex has found that the most effective means of devolatilization is a two-stage operation: indirect heating then inert gas stripping. When the polymer discharges from the reaction system, the polymer, un-reacted monomers and solvents are heated indirectly by steam or hot liquid to an optimum processing temperature in low concentration or complete absence of an inert gas. The residence time in this stage is long enough to approach the equilibrium concentration in the saturated atmosphere. The low concentration of inert gas will allow the volatiles to be recycled directly to the reaction system without treatment. In the second stage of the operation, an inert gas, such as nitrogen, removes the remaining volatiles to a level acceptable for extrusion. This operation is typically conducted in a purge bin; the inert gas is passed counter-current to the downward flowing granules producing a volatiles-stripping action.
Obtaining large quantities of representative material for pilot trials can be expensive and presents a challenge to process scale up. To overcome this challenge, Bepex has developed methods to analyze the critical properties of polymers on a bench scale and use them to model a commercial system. This method can also be used to optimize the performance of an existing system with new formulations.
For more information about this free webinar, visit Polymer Processing Technology in 2018 and Beyond.
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