The design of a high pressure solvent extraction process using liquid ammonia as solvent

  • S. Biray

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The literature on the potential use of liquid ammonia as a solvent for the extraction of aromatic hydrocarbons from mixtures with paraffins, and the application of reflux, has been reviewed. Reference is made to extractors suited to this application.
A pilot scale extraction plant was designed comprising a Scm. diameter by 12Scm. high, 50 stage Rotating Disc Contactor with 2 external settlers. Provision
was made for operation with, or without, reflux at a pressure of 10 bar and ambient temperature. The solvent recovery unit consisted of an evaporator, compressor and condenser in a refrigeration cycle.
Two systems were selected for study, Cumene-n-Heptane-Ammonia and Toluene-Methylcyclohexane-Ammonia. Equlibrium data for the first system was determined experimentally in a specially-designed, equilibrium bomb. A technique was developed to withdraw samples under pressure for analysis by chromatography and titration.
The extraction plant was commissioned with a kerosine-water system; detailed operating procedures were developed based on a Hazard and Operability Study.
Experimental runs were carried out with both ternary ammonia systems. With the system Toluene-Methylcyclohexane-Ammonia the extraction plant and the solvent recovery facility, operated satisfactorily, and safely,in accordance with the operating procedures. Experimental data gave reasonable agreement with theory. Recommendations are made for further work with plant.
Date of AwardApr 1979
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorG.V. Jeffreys (Supervisor)


  • ammonia
  • rotating disc contactor
  • solvent extraction

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