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Evaporators: Design Concepts and Equipment Selection

By Alan Gabelman |

This primer provides guidance on key aspects to consider when designing and specifying evaporators, which are used in a diverse array of industrial sectors Industrial evaporators are used to remove a solvent from a non-volatile solute to obtain a concentrated solution of the solute. This article focuses on evaporator heat-transfer fundamentals and other introductory concepts, as well as types of evaporators (Figure 1), including advantages, disadvantages and suitable applications of each. In most applications, the heat source for evaporation is condensing steam. The concentrated product is aptly called concentrate, or thick liquor. The solvent that is removed is condensed to form process condensate, or simply condensate. With the exception of agitated thin-film units, the solvent is usually water, and this is assumed in most of the discussion that follows. The valuable discharge stream is almost always the concentrate, while the condensate is used for cleaning, recycled as process water, or simply discarded. The notable exception is the evaporation of seawater to obtain potable water, a process that is often part of a hybrid process with reverse osmosis. Evaporators are used in numerous industries, including food, chemicals, paper…
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