Concurrent approach for rapid process development and isotherm characterization
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The design of simulated moving bed (SMB) separation processes is a challenging and time-consuming task, especially when competitive multicomponent adsorption is involved. This thesis project focuses on developing an alternative process design approach – the concurrent approach. This approach is proposed to predict the optimal SMB concentration profiles and operating conditions in an adsorption process and to simultaneously obtain isotherm parameters for multicomponent adsorption by selecting representative liquid compositions for experimental measurements. I demonstrate that the convergence of the concurrent method can be achieved in a few iterations with only a small number of multicomponent adsorption measurements. Then, I demonstrate a second iterative methodology to refine the SMB model by estimating the non-thermodynamic (i.e., mass transfer) and other (dead volume) system parameters, using only a very small number of runs on an SMB “mini-plant” designed and constructed in-house at Georgia Tech.