Mass transfer is a crucial phenomenon in designing and scaling up chemical and biochemical stirred tanks. The literature lacks a pilot-scale study on investigating mass transfer in non-Newtonian fluids. A pilot-scale study is a prerequisite step before scaling up the process from laboratory to industrial-scale. Thus, a study using pilot-scale stirred tank was conducted to investigate bubble hydrodynamics and mass transfer in non-Newtonian fluids. This work is a scale-up study from laboratory to pilot-scale. Axial distributions of bubble–liquid mass transfer coefficient and interfacial area were obtained using dedicated in situ optical endoscope probes (oxygen and bubble size) simultaneously. Volumetric mass transfer coefficient was determined by recording local dissolved oxygen concentrations in liquid. Interfacial area was estimated by measuring local bubble size and global gas holdup. Bubble–liquid mass transfer coefficient was then deduced by combining the obtained values of volumetric mass transfer coefficient and interfacial area. Effects of operating conditions, fluid rheology, and probe axial positions (liquid height) on bubble–liquid mass transfer coefficient were considered. The operating conditions (power inputs and superficial gas velocities) were in the range of 30–250 W/m3 and 3.10–4.70 mm/s, respectively. Bubble–liquid mass transfer coefficient increased with an increase in operating conditions, whereas it decreased with an increase in fluid rheology and liquid height. Scale-up effects on mass transfer were higher for water than viscous fluids, as suggested by large deviation (9.6%) in values of bubble–liquid mass transfer coefficient.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS The work was supported by the Research Council of Norway (Grant No. 274398).