1. “Drying is a mass transfer process consisting of the removal of water or another solvent by evaporation from a solid, semi-solid or liquid. This process is often used as a final production step before selling or packaging products. To be considered "dried", the final product must be solid, in the form of a continuous sheet (e.g., paper), long pieces (e.g., wood), particles (e.g., cereal grains or corn flakes) or powder (e.g., sand, salt, washing powder, milk powder). A source of heat and an agent to remove the vapor produced by the process are often involved. In bioproducts like food, grains, and pharmaceuticals like vaccines, the solvent to be removed is almost invariably water.
In the most common case, a gas stream, e.g., air, applies the heat by convection and carries away the vapor as humidity. Other possibilities are vacuum drying, where heat is supplied by conduction or radiation (or microwaves), while the vapor thus produced is removed by the vacuum system. Another indirect technique is drum drying (used, for instance, for manufacturing potato flakes), where a heated surface is used to provide the energy, and aspirators draw the vapor outside the room. In contrast, the mechanical extraction of the solvent, e.g., water, by centrifugation, is not considered "drying" but rather "draining".
“In some products having a relatively high initial moisture content, an initial linear reduction of the average product moisture content as a function of time may be observed for a limited time, often known as a "constant drying rate period". Usually, in this period, it is surface moisture outside individual particles that is being removed. The drying rate during this period is dependent on the rate of heat transfer to the material being dried. Therefore, the maximum achievable drying rate is considered to be heat-transfer limited. If drying is continued, the slope of the curve, the drying rate, becomes less steep (falling rate period) and eventually tends to nearly horizontal at very long times. The product moisture content is then constant at the "equilibrium moisture content", where it is in dynamic equilibrium with the dehydrating medium. In the falling-rate period, water migration from the product interior to the surface is mostly by molecular diffusion, i,e. the water flux is proportional to the moisture content gradient. This means that water moves from zones with higher moisture content to zones with lower values, a phenomenon explained by the second law of thermodynamics. If water removal is considerable, the products usually undergo shrinkage and deformation, except in a well-designed freeze-drying process. The drying rate in the falling-rate period is controlled by the rate of removal of moisture or solvent from the interior of the solid being dried and is referred to as being "mass-transfer limited".”
(Drying /Wikipedia, 2/26/2013)
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Roger D. Corneliussen
Maro Polymer Links
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Copyright 2013 by Roger D. Corneliussen.
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* Date of latest addition; date of first entry is 2/26/2013.