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|Title:||Experimental investigation of the wall deposition of food containing carbohydrates, in a pilot scale spray dryer|
Dried skim milk
Dairy products -- Drying
|Publisher:||University of Sydney.|
|Abstract:||Spray dryers are the core components of a milk powder production plant, where the basic configuration usually features co-current flow of milk powder and air. Spray dryers have to be cleaned frequently due to powder deposit build-up on the walls. Powder deposit build-up gives rise to lower product yields and poses a potential fire risk. If the powder deposits are scorched (from being overheated) they will contaminate, and thus compromise, the quality and consumer safety of the final product, if the powder deposits fall in and mix with it. With milk powder production rates of most industrial spray dryers ranging from 4-28 tonnes of dry powder an hour, these wall deposition problems are significant. This problem is worth investigating because the outcome of reducing or eliminating wall deposition is that a spray dryer could operate for a longer period of time without having to be cleaned. Reduction in downtime due to cleaning would give rise to increased production time and possibly a reduction in the cost of manufacturing the product. The spray dryer used in this work was a modified short-form co-current Niro unit, fabricated from stainless steel. The spray dryer had an internal diameter of 0.80 m, narrowing down to 0.06 m at the base, and a height of 2 m. A two-fluid nozzle was used to spray the process fluids (water, skim milk and grape skin extract) into the drying chamber. To measure the wall deposition fluxes on the internal walls of the spray dryer, four stainless steel plates (dimensions 110 mm by 120 mm) were inserted in place of the windows that were previously used as sight glasses. A fifth plate (dimensions 110 mm by 120 mm) and a sixth plate (dimensions 110 mm by 110 mm) were also placed on the conical section of the spray dryer at different circumferential locations. Before this work, no quantitative data on the effects of spray dryer operating conditions on the wall deposition fluxes of food material were available. This work investigated the effect on the spray deposition flux of skim milk powder on the walls of the spray dryer of (i) flow patterns in the spray dryer, by changing the degree of swirl imparted to the incoming air by using three swirl vane angles of 0o, 25o and 30o, and (ii) the stickiness of the product, through first changing the temperature of the incoming air by using three inlet air temperatures of 170oC, 200oC and 230oC; and then changing the process fluid flowrate by using three flowrates of 1.4 kg hr-1, 1.6 kg hr-1 and 1.8 kg hr-1. Previous researchers have found that the extent to which water droplets spread out in the drying chamber is affected by the amount of swirl in the inlet air. This is likely to affect wall deposition fluxes because the particles will be closer to the walls if the droplets spread out widely. The results of this work have quantitatively confirmed that the spray deposition flux increases at higher swirl vane angles, where the spray deposition flux increased from 7 g m-2 hr-1 (swirl vane angle 0o) to 12.9 g m-2 hr-1 (swirl vane angle 30o). When a swirl vane angle of 0o was used, it was observed that the cross-sectional area of the spray cloud did not change very significantly with time. However, when a swirl vane angle of 25o was used, the spray cloud was observed to “flutter”, and when the swirl vane angle was increased to 30o, the spray cloud was observed to recirculate rapidly back in the direction of the nozzle. Thus, the chance of the particles being thrown further towards the walls of the chamber is likely to increase at higher swirl vane angles. This result suggests that higher wall deposition arises because more swirl is imparted to the air entering the dryer, which in turn affects the stability of the spray cloud and, therefore, the stability of the flow patterns in the spray dryer. The stickiness of the skim milk powder is related to the temperature and moisture content of the particles. In the past, the sticky-point curve has been suggested as a semi-quantitative concept in selecting operating conditions for spray drying food material containing carbohydrates, where it has been implied that there is no significant wall deposition below the sticky-point curve. This work has quantified the spray deposition in spray dryers with respect to the sticky-point curve, where the highest spray deposition flux of skim milk powder on the walls was 16 g m-2 hr-1, and the operating point corresponding to this spray deposition flux was located at and above the sticky-point curve. Hence, both particle stickiness and flow patterns affect the wall deposition of particles in a spray dryer. This work also investigated the effect of wall properties, namely a non-stick food grade material (nylon), adhesive tape and stainless steel, on the spray deposition flux of skim milk powder on the walls. The effect of electrostatics on wall deposition was studied by grounding the spray dryer and an anti-static agent was added to the skim milk to investigate if altering the properties of the feed material could reduce wall deposition. This work has quantitatively confirmed that cohesion occurs at the same rate as adhesion for skim milk powder in this spray dryer, because firstly, decreasing the adhesion tendency of the v wall by using nylon coating had no significant effect on the spray deposition flux compared with a smooth stainless steel wall and a wall covered with a double-sided adhesive tape; and secondly the powder collected on the walls was a linear function of time with and without adhesive on the plates. Furthermore, using a nylon coated wall did not eliminate wall deposition, and the wall deposition flux was found to be the same as when a stainless steel wall was used. This result further supports the finding here that spray deposition on the walls for skim milk powder is controlled by cohesion rather than adhesion. The spray dryer operating parameters that gave rise to the least spray deposition flux on the walls were a swirl vane angle of 0o, an inlet air temperature of 230oC and a process fluid flowrate of 1.4 kg hr-1. Decreasing the feed flowrate from 1.8 kg hr-1 to 1.4 kg hr-1 (decrease by 24%), with the inlet air temperature and swirl vane angle held constant, decreased the wall deposition flux by 43% from 7 g m-2 hr-1 to 4 g m-2 hr-1. Since the spray deposition flux on the walls decreased by 43% when the feed flowrate was decreased by 24%, it might be considered that the production process is in favour of a decrease in the feed flowrate to 1.4 kg hr-1 in this dryer, and consequently a decrease in the spray deposition flux on the walls per unit production output. Finally, this work investigated if the outlet moisture content from this small spray dryer used here was equilibrium limited or controlled by drying kinetics. The findings in this work confirmed the product moisture locus concept, which implies that the outlet moisture content of the skim milk particles approaches the equilibrium moisture content (in equilibrium with the outlet gas), and that the outlet moisture content of spray-dried food material containing carbohydrates is probably not limited by particle drying kinetics, even though the spray dryer is smaller (diameter 0.8 m, height 2 m) than those used in the dairy industry, typically with a diameter of 30 m and a height of 10 m.|
|Description:||Master of Engineering|
|Rights and Permissions:||The author retains copyright of this thesis.|
|Type of Work:||Masters Thesis|
|Appears in Collections:||Sydney Digital Theses (Open Access)|
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