Comparison of Co-Current and Counter-Current Flow Fields on Extraction Performance in Micro-Channels


Several applications such as liquid-liquid extraction in micro-fluidic devices are concerned with the flow of two immiscible liquid phases. The commonly observed flow regimes in these systems are slug-flow and stratified flow. The latter regime in micro-channels has the inherent advantage that separation of the two liquids at the exit is efficient. Recently extraction in a stratified counter-current flow has been studied experimentally and it has been shown to be more efficient than co-current flow. An analytical as well as a numerical method to determine the steady-state solution of the corresponding convection-diffusion equation for the two flow-fields is presented. It is shown that the counter-current process is superior to the co-current process for the same set of parameters and operating conditions. A simplified model is proposed to analyse the process when diffusion in the transverse direction is not rate limiting. Different approaches to determining mass transfer coefficient are compared. The concept of log mean temperature difference used in design of heat exchangers is extended to describe mass transfer in the system.

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Pushpavanam, S. and Malengier, B. (2012) Comparison of Co-Current and Counter-Current Flow Fields on Extraction Performance in Micro-Channels. Advances in Chemical Engineering and Science, 2, 309-320. doi: 10.4236/aces.2012.22036.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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