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Separation of oil and other organics from water using inverse fluidization of hydrophobic aerogels

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This dissertation presents a systematic study of the sorption mechanisms of hydrophobic silica aerogel (Cabot Nanogel®) granules for oil and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in different phases. The performance of Nanogel for removing oil from laboratory synthetic oil-in-water emulsions and

This dissertation presents a systematic study of the sorption mechanisms of hydrophobic silica aerogel (Cabot Nanogel®) granules for oil and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in different phases. The performance of Nanogel for removing oil from laboratory synthetic oil-in-water emulsions and real oily wastewater, and VOCs from their aqueous solution, in both packed bed (PB) and inverse fluidized bed (IFB) modes was also investigated. The sorption mechanisms of VOCs in the vapor, pure liquid, and aqueous solution phases, free oil, emulsified oil, and oil from real wastewater on Nanogel were systematically studied via batch kinetics and equilibrium experiments. The VOC results show that the adsorption of vapor is very slow due to the extremely low thermal conductivity of Nanogel. The faster adsorption rates in the liquid and solution phases are controlled by the mass transport, either by capillary flow or by vapor diffusion/adsorption. The oil results show that Nanogel has a very high capacity for adsorption of pure oils. However, the rate for adsorption of oil from an oil-water emulsion on the Nanogel is 5-10 times slower than that for adsorption of pure oils or organics from their aqueous solutions. For an oil-water emulsion, the oil adsorption capacity decreases with an increasing proportion of the surfactant added. An even lower sorption capacity and a slower sorption rate were observed for a real oily wastewater sample due to the high stability and very small droplet size of the wastewater. The performance of Nanogel granules for removing emulsified oil, oil from real oily wastewater, and toluene at low concentrations in both PB and IFB modes was systematically investigated. The hydrodynamics characteristics of the Nanogel granules in an IFB were studied by measuring the pressure drop and bed expansion with superficial water velocity. The density of the Nanogel granules was calculated from the plateau pressure drop of the IFB. The oil/toluene removal efficiency and the capacity of the Nanogel granules in the PB or IFB were also measured experimentally and predicted by two models based on equilibrium and kinetic batch measurements of the Nanogel granules.

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Date Created
2011

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Fluidization of Nanosized Particles by a Microjet and Vibration Assisted (MVA) Method

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The applications utilizing nanoparticles have grown in both industrial and academic areas because of the very large surface area to volume ratios of these particles. One of the best ways to process and control these nanoparticles is fluidization. In this

The applications utilizing nanoparticles have grown in both industrial and academic areas because of the very large surface area to volume ratios of these particles. One of the best ways to process and control these nanoparticles is fluidization. In this work, a new microjet and vibration assisted (MVA) fluidized bed system was developed in order to fluidize nanoparticles. The system was tested and the parameters optimized using two commercially available TiO2 nanoparticles: P25 and P90. The fluidization quality was assessed by determining the non-dimensional bed height as well as the non-dimensional pressure drop. The non-dimensional bed height for the nanosized TiO2 in the MVA system optimized at about 5 and 7 for P25 and P90 TiO2, respectively, at a resonance frequency of 50 Hz. The non-dimensional pressure drop was also determined and showed that the MVA system exhibited a lower minimum fluidization velocity for both of the TiO2 types as compared to fluidization that employed only vibration assistance. Additional experiments were performed with the MVA to characterize the synergistic effects of vibrational intensity and gas velocity on the TiO2 P25 and P90 fluidized bed heights. Mathematical relationships were developed to correlate vibrational intensity, gas velocity, and fluidized bed height in the MVA. The non-dimensional bed height in the MVA system is comparable to previously published P25 TiO2 fluidization work that employed an alcohol in order to minimize the electrostatic attractions within the bed. However, the MVA system achieved similar results without the addition of a chemical, thereby expanding the potential chemical reaction engineering and environmental remediation opportunities for fluidized nanoparticle systems.

In order to aid future scaling up of the MVA process, the agglomerate size distribution in the MVA system was predicted by utilizing a force balance model coupled with a two-fluid model (TFM) simulation. The particle agglomerate size that was predicted using the computer simulation was validated with experimental data and found to be in good agreement.

Lastly, in order to demonstrate the utility of the MVA system in an air revitalization application, the capture of CO2 was examined. CO2 breakthrough time and adsorption capacities were tested in the MVA system and compared to a vibrating fluidized bed (VFB) system. Experimental results showed that the improved fluidity in the MVA system enhanced CO2 adsorption capacity.

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Date Created
2019