Mechanisms by Which Pentane and Hexane Adsorb on Silica Gel
- H.O. McLeod Jr. (Dowell Div. Dow Chemical Co.) | J.M. Campbell (The U. Of Oklahoma)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Society of Petroleum Engineers Journal
- Publication Date
- June 1966
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 166 - 174
- 1966. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 4.6 Natural Gas, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 5.1 Reservoir Characterisation
- 4 in the last 30 days
- 240 since 2007
- Show more detail
- View rights & permissions
Data analysis of pentane and hexane adsorption from natural gas in a fixed bed of silica gel shows that constant length mass transfer zones form, the curvature of the adsorption isotherm controls the growth of the mass transfer zone and surface diffusion of molecules inside the silica gel particle controls the mass transfer rate. Curvature of the hexane isotherm is more than the curvature of the pentane isotherm. Because of this curvature the hexane adsorption zones reached a constant length. In contrast, the pentane adsorption zones were always increasing in length during each run. A procedure was developed to obtain correct mass transfer coefficients using effluent curve slopes. These transfer coefficients increase with the amount of hydrocarbon adsorbed on the silica gel particle. The characteristic shape of the hexane effluent curves also show that molecular diffusion inside the silica gel particle controls the adsorption rate of pentane and hexane.
The purpose of this study was to determine the mechanisms that control the dynamic adsorption of hydrocarbons from a natural gas onto silica gel. Before one can deal effectively with multicomponent adsorption, the transfer mechanisms by which a single hydrocarbon component is adsorbed from the gas stream must be defined. Two principal investigations of this system have been published and indicate that diffusion through the gas around the particle controls the adsorption rate. Some of the experimental observations in each study either do not support this transfer mechanism or are inconsistent with the mathematical model used in analysis. In this study surface diffusion of molecules inside the particle controls the mass transfer rate of pentane and hexane. This mechanism is indicated by the effluent curve shape for a constant length transfer zone and by the variation of the mass transfer coefficient with concentration of the adsorbed hydrocarbon.
THEORY AND DEFINITIONS-MATHEMATICAL MODELS
Mathematical solutions for the isothermal adsorption of a trace component from a carrier gas are derived from three relationships: the mass balance or continuity equation, the equilibrium relationship between the gas and solid phases, and a mass transfer rate equation. The transfer rate is proportional to the adsorbate concentration gradient within either the gas or solid phase. Mathematical solutions of these equations usually give the adsorbate concentration as a function of time and distance from the bed inlet. That part of the bed in which the adsorbate concentration changes from a maximum to a minimum value is called the transfer zone. This transfer zone is directly related to a plot of the effluent concentration vs time which has a characteristic S-shape. This general shape is determined by the continuity equation and occurs in many processes of diffusional transfer.
EQUILIBRIUM ADSORPTION ISOTHERMS
Different mathematical models of fixed bed adsorption occur mainly because different equilibrium adsorption isotherms are assumed. Eq. 1 describes the amount of hydrocarbon adsorbed as a function of the amount of hydrocarbon in the gas phase at a constant temperature:
There are two main models which describe the separation of a trace component in a fixed bed. Model A assumes a linear isotherm (r = 1); Model B assumes a favorably curved isotherm (r is less than 1).
|File Size||599 KB||Number of Pages||9|