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Investigation of kinetics of supercritical drying of alginate alcogel particles
Spherical calcium alginate gel particles were synthesized by dripping method. The effects of temperature, pressure, particle size and CO2 flow rate on kinetics of supercritical drying of alginate gel particles in a packed bed were investigated. Increase in CO2 flow rate, increase in temperature and decrease in particle size increased the drying rate and decreased the drying time. A mathematical model based on (i) the diffusion of the solvent inside the pores of gel particles, (ii) external mass transfer of the solvent from the surface of the gel particles into the flowing fluid stream, and (iii) convection and axial dispersion of the solvent in the flowing fluid stream was developed. A correlation for predicting external mass transfer coefficients for supercritical drying of alcogel particles was developed by fitting the model to experimental data. A good agreement between the experimental data and model results was achieved using the developed correlation.