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Separation Process Engineering: Includes Mass Transfer Analysis, Third Edition by Phillip C. Wankat

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18.4.2 Shock Waves

For an isotherm with a Langmuir shape, if the column is initially loaded at some low concentration, clow, (clow = 0 if the column is clean) and is fed with a fluid of a higher concentration, chigh (see Figure 18-17A), the result will be a shock wave. The feed step in adsorption processes usually results in shock waves. Experiments show that when a shock wave is predicted the zone spreading is constant regardless of the column length (a constant pattern wave). With the assumptions of the solute movement theory (infinitely fast rates of mass transfer and no axial dispersion), the wave becomes infinitely sharp (a shock) and the derivative dq/dc does not exist. Thus, the Δq/Δc term in the denominator of Eq. (18-14) must be retained ...

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