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Spray Drying Made Simple for British Science Week

British Science Week is back!

Running from the 8th to the 17th March, 2024, you can get involved in events dedicated to STEM throughout – have a quick look HERE to get inspired.

We’re a big advocate of empowering interest in Science and the Natural World. LabPlant is the UK’s main Spray Dryer manufacturer for resale, and we’re dedicated to making Spray Drying accessible by offering Spray Dryer trials.

To commemorate British Science Week, we’ve simplified the Spray Drying process in a quick guide. Find more information on an incredibly bespoke piece of Laboratory equipment here…

The first recorded Spray Drying technique was documented in the 1860s. Able to turn liquids into powders, Spray Dryer’s are a very helpful machine for those in the Food and Drink, Cosmetic, Environmental, Marine, Fuels, Aviation, Paint, and pharmaceutical industries.

Start to think of the powders different industries make for their products – from milk powders to paracetamol, to blush pigment – and the scope of what our Spray Dryer can produce will quickly become apparent!

Scientific Processes

The scientific processes of Particle Formation, Evaporation, and Heat and Mass Transfer all happen during Spray Drying. Let’s clear them up:

Particle Formation is dependent on a few factors. One is the properties of the original liquid/solution (such as surface tension and viscosity), another, the humidity and temperature of the hot air in the Drying Chamber. Lastly, the final factor is the time the particles spend in the Drying Chamber.

Evaporation of the liquid/solution. By exposing the droplets to heat in the Drying Chamber, the moisture quickly evaporates, leaving behind solid particles.

Heat and Mass Transfer phenomena occur in the Spray Drying process. Heat is transferred from the heated air to the liquid/solution droplets, causing vaporisation. Mass is transferred as moisture diffuses from the droplets surface into the surroundings.

All of these scientific processes can affect the density, shape and size of the particles. These aren’t as complicated as they might be first seen, so the process of Spray Drying is quite straightforward.

The Method

The liquid or solution that will be changed to a powder is pumped through a tube (the peristaltic pump) to the Atomiser. The Atomiser is what mixes the liquid with compressed air, which creates an atomised spray of both air and liquid. This atomised spray of air and liquid is sprayed into the Drying Chamber (the main chamber) where there is a flow of hot air. The moisture is evaporated from the droplets, leaving solid particles.

These particles are then blown through the Spray Dryer into the Cyclone. The Cyclone is the collecting device for these particles.

The Cyclone creates a vortex, similar to a small tornado, where the particles are pushed to the side and down. At the bottom of the Cyclone is a collection bottle, where the particles will be collected, to be used later.

If you have any questions about Spray Dryers, or our Spray Drying Trials, contact us HERE, or see our page on our range!