Drying is an important unit operation in process industry. Results have suggested that the energy used for drying has increased from 12% in 1978 to 18% of the total energy used in 1990. A literature survey of previous studies regarding overall drying energy consumption has demonstrated that there is little continuity of methods and energy trends could not be established. In the ceramics, timber and paper industrial sectors specific energy consumption and energy trends have been investigated by auditing drying equipment. Ceramic products examined have included tableware, tiles, sanitaryware, electrical ceramics, plasterboard, refractories, bricks and abrasives. Data from industry has shown that drying energy has not varied significantly in the ceramics sector over the last decade, representing about 31% of the total energy consumed. Information from the timber industry has established that radical changes have occurred over the last 20 years, both in terms of equipment and energy utilisation. The energy efficiency of hardwood drying has improved by 15% since the 1970s, although no significant savings have been realised for softwood. A survey estimating the energy efficiency and operating characteristics of 192 paper dryer sections has been conducted. Drying energy was found to increase to nearly 60% of the total energy used in the early 1980s, but has fallen over the last decade, representing 23% of the total in 1993. These results have demonstrated that effective energy saving measures, such as improved pressing and heat recovery, have been successfully implemented since the 1970s. Artificial neural networks have successfully been applied to model process characteristics of microwave and convective drying of paper coated gypsum cove. Parameters modelled have included product moisture loss, core gypsum temperature and quality factors relating to paper burning and bubbling defects. Evaluation of thermal and dielectric properties have highlighted gypsum's heat sensitive characteristics in convective and electromagnetic regimes. Modelling experimental data has shown that the networks were capable of simulating drying process characteristics to a high degree of accuracy. Product weight and temperature were predicted to within 0.5% and 5C of the target data respectively. Furthermore, it was demonstrated that the underlying properties of the data could be predicted through a high level of input noise.
|Date of Award||Oct 1996|
|Supervisor||T N Oliver (Supervisor)|
- neural networks
- energy utilisation