Abstract of PhD Thesis

Solvent recovery and prediction of drying times in vacuum dryers

Diana Patricia Mesa, Cork Institute of Technology(2011)

The project studied vacuum drying operations in the chemical industry in Ireland, to obtain a better understanding of the process so as to optimise drying performance.

The different vacuum drying configurations and equipment in use in industry were identified. Solvent recovery rates, disposal and destination of the solvent evaporated from vacuum dryers were assessed. Drying curves from industrial dryers were studied for a variety of products. The relevant instrumentation and techniques for monitoring operations and for end point determination, including moisture content analysis and inferential measurements were reviewed. Industry used a variety of methods for end-point determination. Miscellaneous issues such as sampling, balling, solvent boiling, and dryer cleaning are discussed.

This project concluded that there were many opportunities to enhance vacuum drying operations and the dissemination of practical information is a necessity as no standard procedures exist. The area warrants further research as many gaps were identified.