The drying of small drops of particulate slurries

  • Hoe W. Cheong

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The literature on the evaporation of drops of pure liquids, drops containing solids and droplet sprays has been critically reviewed.
An experimental study was undertaken on the drying of suspended drops of pure water and aqueous sodium sulphate decahydrate with concentrations varying from 5 to 54. 1 wt. %.
Individual drops were suspended from a glass filament balance in a 26 mm I.D. vertical wind tunnel, designed and constructed to supply hot de-humidified air, to simulate conditions encountered in commercial spray driers. A novel thin film thermocouple was developed to facilitate the simultaneous measurement of drop weight and core temperature. The heat conduction through the thermocouple was reduced because of its unique design; using essentially a single 50μ diameter nickel wire.
For pure water drops, the Nusselt number was found to be a function of the Reynolds, Prandtl and Transfer numbers for a temperature range between 19 to 79°C.
                 Nu = 2 + 0.19 (1/B)0.24 Re0.5 Pr0.33
Two distinct periods were observed during the drying of aqueous sodium sulphate decahydrate. The first period was characterised by the evaporation from a free liquid surface, whilst drying in the second period was controlled by the crust resistance. Fracturing of the crust occurred randomly but was more frequent at higher concentrations and temperatures.
A model was proposed for the drying of slurry drops, based on a receding evaporation interface. The model was solved numerically for the variation of core temperature, drop weight and crust thickness as a function of time. Experimental results were in excellent agreement with the model predictions although at higher temperatures modifications to the model had to be made to accommodate the unusual behaviour of sodium sulphate slurries, i.e. the formation of hydrates.
Date of AwardSept 1983
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorG.V. Jeffreys (Supervisor)


  • thin film thermocouple
  • receding evaporation interface
  • slurry drop drying

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