A new method based on experimental determination of the product distribution of a set of complex test reactions has been introduced and applied to study mass transfer in liquid–liquid systems. The test reactions consist of two parallel reactions, one of them being instantaneous and the second fast relative to mass transfer. Two reactants are transferred from the dispersed, organic phase (phase volume 1% vol) to the continuous aqueous phase, where the third reactant is present. Experiments were carried out in a batch system agitated with either a six-blade paddle impeller or a high-shear rotor–stator LR4 Silverson mixer to disperse drops and increase the mass transfer rate. The product distribution and the drop size distribution were measured using gas chromatography–mass spectroscopy and Malvern MasterSizer, respectively with pH variation recorded during the process. The results show that the focused supply of energy in the Silverson mixer is effective for the short term irreversible drop break-up process producing smaller droplets than the six-blade paddle impeller. However for the long term mass transfer process the paddle impeller is more effective due to more uniform supply of energy and better mixing throughout the tank compared to the more localized mixing of the Silverson.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
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