The journal of physical chemistry. B

Study of a Novel Method for the Thermolysis of Solutes in Aqueous Solution Using a Low Temperature Bubble Column Evaporator.

PMID 26067442


An enhanced thermal decomposition of chemical compounds in aqueous solution has been achieved at reduced solution temperatures. The technique exploits hitherto unrecognized properties of a bubble column evaporator (BCE). It offers better heat transfer efficiency than conventional heat transfer equipment. This is obtained via a continuous flow of hot, dry air bubbles of optimal (1-3 mm) size. Optimal bubble size is maintained by using the bubble coalescence inhibition property of some salts. This novel method is illustrated by a study of thermal decomposition of ammonium bicarbonate (NH4HCO3) and potassium persulfate (K2S2O8) in aqueous solutions. The decomposition occurs at significantly lower temperatures than those needed in bulk solution. The process appears to work via the continuous production of hot (e.g., 150 °C) dry air bubbles, which do not heat the solution significantly but produce a transient hot surface layer around each rising bubble. This causes the thermal decomposition of the solute. The decomposition occurs due to the effective collision of the solute with the surface of the hot bubbles. The new process could, for example, be applied to the regeneration of the ammonium bicarbonate draw solution used in forward osmosis.

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