Computer based selection of solid/liquid separation equipment

2009-11-20T12:59:09Z (GMT) by Richard J. Wakeman Steve Tarleton
Filtration and separation technology contains numerous heuristics, evidenced by consulting industrial reference books such as Solid/Liquid Separation Equipment Scale-Up. A majority of industrial process engineers need to possess wide ranging knowledge covering many unit operations and rarely have the opportunity to gain in-depth specialist knowledge of filtration and separation technology. Consequently the large number of heuristics that have evolved in the technology are confusing. Solid/liquid separation technology, whether it be in the areas of selection or design, is best dealt with by software designed to run interactively, so that the engineer can input data and receive a result rapidly. An expert system such as pC-SELECT can be used to ensure the correctness of input data as far as this is possible, and it can utilise interactive graphics facilities to show effects of changes in variables or to allow the engineer access to calculations to make value judgements. To be most effective the software must be a well-chosen mix of algorithms, expert system, and input information by the engineer. There exist a number of charts which serve as a guide to the approach to equipment selection, the better ones of which consider a variety of possible eventualities and indicate where decisions must be made. These charts generally have been devised by experts to be fairly comprehensive and are of value to the solid/liquid separation expert. They also illustrate the near impossibility of combining comprehensiveness with useability when so much interacting information is presented in written form. Purchas introduced a general guide for the non-specialist, which is a valuable aid to one confronted with this confusing and complex area. This guide is adopted, suitably extended and adapted, for use in the software pC-SELECT which incorporates features of the type discussed in this paper.