Pharmaceutical development and technology

Determination of shelf heat transfer coefficients along the shelf flow path of a freeze dryer using the shelf fluid temperature perturbation approach.

PMID 17963149


The spatial distribution of local shelf heat transfer coefficients, Ks, was determined by mapping the transient temperature response of the shelf surface along the serpentine internal channels of the shelf while the temperature of the heat transfer fluid was ramped from -40 degrees to 40 degrees C. The solution of a first-order non-steady-state differential equation resulted in a predicted shelf surface temperature as a function of the shelf fluid temperature at any point along the flow path. During the study, the shelf surfaces were maintained under a thermally insulated condition so that the heat transfers by gas conduction and radiation were negligible. To minimize heat conduction by gas, the chamber was evacuated to a low pressure, such as 100 mTorr. To minimize heat transfers between shelves, shelves were moved close together, with a gap of approximately 3 mm between any two shelves, because the shelf surface temperatures at corresponding vertical locations of two shelves are virtually equal. In addition, this also provides a shielding from radiation heat transfer from shelf to walls. Local heat transfer coefficients at the probed locations h(x) ( approximately Ks) were calculated by fitting the experimental shelf temperature response to the theoretical value. While the resulting values of K(s) are in general agreement with previously reported values, the values of Ks close to the inlet are significantly higher than those of other locations of the shelf channel. This observation is most likely attributed to the variation of the flow pattern of heat transfer fluid within the channels.