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Trends and Future Prospects
Series: De Gruyter STEM
Series: De Gruyter STEM
Essentials for Chemical Engineers

Abstract

Ceramic-based photocatalytic membrane reactors (cPMRs) are becoming increasingly popular among researchers and will soon be seen on the water/wastewater-treatment market. This review provides a thorough analysis of the available data on cPMRs fabricated to date based on coating method, support and coating materials, membrane design, pore size and model compounds used to evaluate process efficiency and light source. While all of the studies describe cPMR preparation in great detail, over half do not provide any information about their performance. The rest used various dyes that can be conveniently detected by spectrophotometry/fluorimetry, or micropollutants that require analytical equipment available only in specialized laboratories. In addition, cPMRs are viewed as a convenient way of incorporating a photocatalyst on an inert surface assuming that the surface itself, i.e. the membrane, does not participate in the treatment process. A unified test for cPMR performance should be developed and implemented for all cPMRs that have the potential for commercialization. There is a need for standardization in cPMR testing; only then can the true performance of cPMRs be evaluated and compared. Such testing will also answer the question of whether the cPMR membrane is indeed an inert support or an active part of the treatment process.

Abstract

Mechanically stirred slurry tanks are utilized in several industries to perform various unit operations such as crystallization, adsorption, ion-exchange, suspensions polymerization, dispersion of solid particles, leaching and dissolution, and activated sludge processes. The major goal of this review paper is to critically and thoroughly analyse the different aspects of previous research works reported in the literature in the field of liquid-solid mixing. This paper sheds light on the advantages and limitations of various particle concentration measurement methods employed to assess the suspension quality and the extent of solid suspensions in slurry reactors. Attempts are being made to identify and compare various mathematical models and methods to quantify particle dispersion and distribution in slurry reactors. It has been shown that various factors such as geometric configurations, agitation conditions, and physical characteristics of liquid and solid have pronounced influence on local suspension quality and power consumption. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling can be extremely useful in assessing the suspension of solid particles in slurry tanks. A critical review of different scale-up procedures employed for solid suspension and distribution in liquid-solid systems is presented as well. The findings of this review paper can be useful for future research works in liquid-solid mixing.

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Abstract

The surge of knowledge among researchers pertaining to the excellent properties of graphene has led to the utilisation of graphene as a reinforced filler in polymer composites. Different methods of graphene preparation, either bottom-up or top-down methods, are important requirements of starting materials in producing reinforced properties in the composites. The starting graphene material produced is either further functionalised or directly used as a filler in thermoset polymer matrixes. An effective interaction between graphene and polymer matrixes is important and can be achieved by incorporating graphene into a thermoset polymer matrix through melt mixing, solution mixing or in situ polymerisation processes. In addition, by taking into consideration the importance of green and sustainable composites, the details of previous work on graphene reinforced bio-thermoset polymer matrixes is discussed. The resultant mechanical and thermal properties of the composites were associated to the chemical interaction between the graphene filler and a thermoset matrix. Exploration for further variations of graphene polymer composites are discussed by taking the reinforcement properties in graphene composite as a starting point.

Abstract

Despite its idealizations, thermodynamics has proven its power as a predictive theory for practical applications. In particular, the Curzon–Ahlborn efficiency provides a benchmark for any real engine operating at maximal power. Here we further develop the analysis of endoreversible Otto engines. For a generic class of working mediums, whose internal energy is proportional to some power of the temperature, we find that no engine can achieve the Carnot efficiency at finite power. However, we also find that for the specific example of photonic engines the efficiency at maximal power is higher than the Curzon–Ahlborn efficiency.

Abstract

The fundamental issue in the energetic performance of power plants, working both as traditional fuel engines and as combined-cycle turbines (gas-steam), lies in quantifying the internal irreversibilities which are associated with the working substance operating in cycles. The purpose of several irreversible energy converter models is to find objective thermodynamic functions that determine operation modes for real thermal engines and at the same time study the trade-off between energy losses per cycle and the useful energy. As those objective functions, we focus our attention on a generalization of the so-called ecological function in terms of an ϵ parameter that depends on the particular heat transfer law used in the irreversible heat engine model. In this work, we mathematically describe the configuration space of an irreversible Curzon–Ahlborn type model. The above allows to determine the optimal relations between the model parameters so that a power plant operates in physically accessible regions, taking into account internal irreversibilities, introduced in two different ways (additively and multiplicatively). In addition, we establish the conditions that the ϵ parameter must fulfill for the energy converter to work in an optimal region between maximum power output and maximum efficiency points.