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I. Introduction
Drying is the removal of water, or
other volatile liquids, by evaporation. Most
solid materials require drying at some stage
in their production. The choice of suitable
drying equipment cannot be separated from
the selection of the upstream equipment
feeding the drying stage.
The overriding consideration in the
selection of drying equipment is the nature
and concentration of feed. Drying is an
energy-intensive process, and the removal
of liquid by thermal drying will be
Figure 1. An Industrial Dryer
more costly than by mechanical
separation techniques. [1]
When the feed is solids, it is important to present the material to the dryer in a
form that will produce a bed of solids with an open, porous structure. For pastes and
slurries, some form of pretreatment equipment will normally be needed, such as extrusion
or granulation.
Accordingly, the process of drying can be divided into two stages. During the first
stage, in which the material surface is wet, the rate of evaporation is constant. This is
known as constant rate period. In the next stage the surface being dry, the water must
force itself to the surface by diffusion, which is slower than evaporation. This is therefore
known as falling rate period. The entire process therefore involves heat transfer as well
as material transfer. [2]

II. Types of Dryers [1] [2]

Because of the very wide range of dryer designs available, classification is a
virtually impossible task. The main factors to be considered when selecting a dryer are:
(1) feed condition: solid, liquid, paste, powder, crystals (2) feed concentration, the initial
liquid content (3) product specification: dryness required, physical form (4) throughput
required (5) heat sensitivity of the product (6) nature of the vapour: toxicity, flammability
and (7) nature of the solids: flammability (dust explosion hazard), toxicity.
A large number of dryers have been designed for each group of materials, with
different arrangements and methods of heat transfer, as also the heating mediums.
Dryers can therefore be classified according to the material, solids or liquids, according
to the method of heat transfer; direct or indirect, or according to the heating medium; air,

steam, hot water, etc. On the basis of the method of heat transfer, dryers can be
classified as (a) direct dryers (b) indirect dryers. In each category they can further be
divided into batch and continuous types. As a general rule, production rates of 5000 kg
per day (0.06 kg/s) are best handled by batch dryers and rates over 50,000 kg per day
(0.06 kg/s) in a continuous dryer.

1. Batch Type Dryers

Batch dryers are normally used for small-scale production and where the drying
cycle is likely to be long. It is much more versatile and it can often be used for different
materials. The humidity may be controlled during the drying operations, and this is
especially important in cases where the humidity has to be maintained at different levels
for varying periods of time.

1.1. Tray Dryer

The simplest type of batch dryer is the tray
dryer, which is essentially a cabinet of large
compartment with a number of trays. These trays
may either be fabricated from sheets or from
screens. In these dryers, steam, gas or electrically
heated air is used as a drying medium. The air is
passed by means of a fan over a radiator or over
finned tubes and then over the trays. A portion of
the air is let out at the discharge, the remainder is
reheated and recirculated. An amount of fresh air
equivalent to the volume discharged is admitted at
the fan.
Figure 2 Schematic Diagram of a

The spacing of trays is such as to maintain

Typical Batch Tray Dryer
low pressure losses about 7.5 cm. Tray areas are
0.3-1 m2 with a depth of material of 10-100 mm, depending on the particle size of the
product. Air velocities of 1-10 m/s are used and, in order to conserve heat, 85-85 per
cent of the air is recirculated. Even at these high values, the steam consumption may be
2.5-3.0 kg/kg moisture removed. The capacity of tray dryers depends on many factors
including the nature of the materials, the loading and external conditions, although for
dyestuffs an evaporative capacity of 0.03-0.3 kg/m2 ks (0.1-1 kg/m2 h) has been quoted
with air at 300-360 K.
Batch vacuum shelf or tray dryers are generally used for materials which are
excessively heat sensitive. They consist of a cast iron rectangular or steel cylindrical
chamber, fitted with a vacuum-tight charging door. The door is either of the quick-acting
type or is provided with several wing-nuts and swivel bolts.
The trays are made of mild steel, stainless steel, enameled iron or other special
materials, and are fabricated from sheets of 3 mm to 6 mm thick. A shelf is fabricated
from steel structural sections like angles or tees, on which about 10 to 20 trays may be

supported. The shelf must be sufficiently rigid to avoid deflection of the framework due to
dead load of trays and the material. It is necessary to ensure that the trays remain flat
under the load of the materials.
Table 1.1. Features of Tray Dryers
Method of Operation
Evaporation Rate
0.02-2.5 (lb/hr)/sq ft
Thermal Efficiency
18-41 %
Used for a wide range of materials
Close control can be maintained over the
drying conditions and the product Have high labor requirements
Suitable for drying valuable products

1.2. Pan Dryer

This consists of a flat bottom
shallow cylindrical pan with a steam
jacket at the bottom and on the sides. An
anchor shaped scraper type of agitator is
used to move the wet material over the
surface heated by the steam. The
material is removed through an outlet at
the bottom.
The scraper is rotated at speeds
usually between 2 and 20 rpm with the
intention of merely preventing the solids
from forming a hard cake on the heating
surface. When drying slurries and wet
Figure 3 A Jacketed Pan Dryer
pastes, clearance between the scrapers (a) pan (b) anchor-agitator (c) cover (d) bevel
gear (e)shaft
and heated surfaces must be minimal to
Source: Joshi (1973)
prevent a skin of dried material building
up on these surfaces. The driving system must, therefore, be designed for heavy torque
The usual size of the pan is up to 3 meters in diameters, with capacities up to
5000 litres. The drive to the stirrer is either from the bottom or from the top of the pan
with a bevel reduction gear, which in turn is driven by a V-belt and motor. The pan is
designed for an external pressure of about 3 to 6 kg/cm2, depending on the pressure of
steam. In addition, if a vacuum pan is to be designed the design pressure will be
increased further by 1kg/cm2.
Table 1.2. Features of Pan Dryers

Method of Operation
Evaporation Rate
0.8-1.6 (lb/hr)/sq ft
Thermal Efficiency
The minimal agitator to wall clearance
keeps the wall free from product crust.
The pan bottom can be easily lowered
for fast cleaning and inspection.

1.3. Rotary Vacuum Dryer

This is similar in principle
to a pan dryer, where a jacket is
used for the heating medium and
an agitator is used for moving the
wet material over the heated
surface. The unit consists of a
horizontal jacketed cylindrical
shell, closed at the ends by
suitable heads. The dryer is built
in variety of sizes, ranging from
about 75 cm diameter by 4 m
long to about 1.6 m diameter by
Figure 4 A Rotary Vacuum Dryer with Stirrer
12 m long. A central shaft is
supported in bearings outside the
shell. It is sealed by stuffing boxes against leakage through the holes in the heads.

Table 1.3. Features of Rotary Vacuum Dryers

Method of Operation
Evaporation Rate
6.1-16.4 (lb/hr)/sq ft
Thermal Efficiency
45 %
Versatile in process applications
High energy efficiency
Low operating costs compared to other Formation
types of dryers
difference between the internal and
Large heat transfer area available on
surface of material
paddles and shaft give maximum heat
transfer rates

1.4. Tumbler Dryer

This type of dryer is, to some extent,

replacing the cylindrical rotary vacuum dryer. It
has two opposing jacketed cones on a
common jacketed short cylindrical base. When
the cones are in a vertical position the dryer
can be rapidly discharged. The unit is provided
with supporting trunnions running in suitable
bearings. The trunnions are hollow. A vacuum
connection is made through one of the
trunnions. The connection pipe is turned
upwards in the cone and is fitted with a dust
filter at its end. Inlet and outlet pipes pass
through the other trunnion for supply of a
suitable heating medium to the jacket. A
special design of a rotating valve is used for
this purpose. One of the trunnions is driven
through a reduction gear and chain drive,

Figure 5 A Tumbler Dryer


Rotational speeds will range from 12 rpm for small units to 3 to 4 rpm for large
commercial installations. The horse powers vary between and 15. The base cylindrical
diameters are about 1 m to 3 m.

Table 1.4. Features of Tumbler Dryers

Method of Operation
Evaporation Rate
5.6 (lb/hr)/cu ft
Thermal Efficiency
65-70 %
Large drying capacity
Easy to operate

1.5. Fluidised bed dryer

Requires large amount of floor area

In this type of dryer, the drying gas is

passed through the bed of solids at a velocity
sufficient to keep the bed in a fluidized state;
which promotes high heat transfer and drying
Fluidised bed dryers are suitable for
granular and crystalline materials within the
particle size range 1 to 3 mm. They are
designed for continuous and batch operation.
Dryers with grid areas up to 14 m2
have been built and evaporative capacities
vary from 0.02 kg/s m 2 grid area for the lowtemperature drying of food grains to 0.3 kg/s
m2 for the drying of pulverized coal by direct
Figure 6 A Fluidised Bed Dryer
contact with flue gases. Specific air rates are
usually 0.5-2.0 kg/s m2 grid area and the total energy demand is 2.5-7.5 MJ/kg moisture
evaporated. The exit gas is nearly always saturated with vapor for all allowable
fluidization velocities.

Table 1.5. Features of Fluidised Bed Dryers

Method of Operation
Evaporation Rate
50-160 (lb/hr)/cu ft
Thermal Efficiency
20-55 %
Rapid and uniform heat transfer
Power requirements are high compared
Short drying times
Good control of the drying conditions
with other types
Low floor area requirements

2. Continuous Dryers

2.1. Band Dryer

With the trays on trucks, the
dryer can be made continuous by
passing the trays with the wet material
continuously through a drying chamber.
Trays may be placed on a conveyor
instead of using trucks. In some cases
the material may be placed or attached
directly to a conveyor belt. The
conveyor belt is made of perforated
metal plate or woven wire.
A section of the dryer is used
for locating the heater which may be
usually of steam heated finned tubes. A
fan which is placed above the heater
Figure 7 A Band Dryer
pulls the air through the heater and
circulates it through the wet material.
Recirculation and reheating may be automatically controlled.
Conveyor widths vary between 40 cm and 250 cm. Lengths range up to 50 m, so
that the material can be retained in the chamber for sufficient time. The entire chamber is
fabricated out of structural steel sections with steel sheets welded to it. Doors are
provided at either end with the necessary ports. The chamber is properly insulated.

Table 1.6. Features of Band Dryers

Method of Operation
Evaporation Rate
Thermal Efficiency
46-58 %
Uniform drying due to movement of
Effective use of drying air circulation fans Bed of wet material can be permeable
Can easily be controlled belt speed and Importance to distribute carefully since
drying time
there is no opportunity to rearrange it
Very versatile and can handle a wide
range of materials

2.2. Rotary Dryer

It consists of a long cylindrical shell mounted horizontally with a slight slope. The
shell is either rotated or may be kept stationary. If it is stationary, an agitator is made to

revolve within the shell at a slow

speed. The wet material is fed at
the upper end, and moves
gradually towards the lower end
due to the rotation of the cylinder or
movement of the agitator. Warm air
or a stream of hot gas travels
countercurrent to the material. The
rate of feed, the speed of rotation or
agitation, the volume of the heated
air or gases and their temperatures,
are so regulated that the material is
completely dried before it is
discharged at the lower end.

Figure 8 The Rotary Dryer and Its Parts


The simplest shelves are longitudinal baffles, plain or serrated, of about 5 cm to

10 cm width on the periphery of the cylinder. The retention time of the material in the
dryer will be determined by several factors such as the slope of the dryer shell, its speed
of rotation and the length, the arrangement of flights, etc. The retention time at a given
speed of rotation is inversely proportional to the slope of the shell. The rotational speed
in rpm x dryer diameter in m lies between 75 to 105. The slope is 18 mm to 54 mm.
The rotating shell diameter varies between 0.3 and 3 m, while the length of the
shell may range between four and ten times the diameter. The shell is generally 6 to 8
mm thick, and is made as one piece. It may be fabricated from mild steel, stainless steel
clad or lined.

Table 1.7. Features of Rotary Dryer

Method of Operation
Conduction (indirect) /Convection (direct)
Evaporation Rate
6.1-16.4 (lb/hr)/sq ft
Thermal Efficiency
85 %
Covers smaller area
Convenient to be transported and installed Maintenance is inconvenient
Moisture content is greater than the Kiln/rolling action difficult to quantify
Sensitive to load and gas velocity
specified value
Effects of operating parameter changes

2.3. Film Drum Dryers

These dryers are operated

under atmospheric conditions or
under vacuum. The feedstock is
supplied continuously to the
effective drying surface of the
drums and the dried product is
removed by scraper knife. The
material is fed by various
arrangements. Pasty materials are
fed by feed rollers from top.
Viscous materials are fed at the
nip between drums. Slurries are
normally fed by submerging the
drum partially in a trough.

Figure 9 Schematic Diagram of a Film Drum Dryer


The drum, which may be m to 2 m diameter and 1 m to 4 m length can be

fabricated from a plate or cast to the required shape. The materials used are cast iron,
bronze, chromium plated steel or stainless steel. The drum is heated internally by steam
and has, therefore, to withstand internal pressure.
Drums are rotated at speeds in range of 3 to 20 rpm. As the drum rotates a film
of about 1 to 3 mm thickness is formed, which is scraped by doctor knives. Three types
are generally used, stationary single-bladed, oscillating single-bladed and multiple
adjustable abutting or overlapping bladed. The knife is silicon-carbon steel with fairly
small thickness.

Table 1.8. Features of Film Drum Dryers

Method of Operation
Evaporation Rate
1.4-5.1 (lb/hr)/sq ft
Thermal Efficiency
36-73 %
Takes less time to dry
Occupies less space
High maintenance cost
Rapid drying takes place due to rapid heat Skilled operators are essential to thickness
and mass transfer
control of film
Can be enclosed in vacuum chamber to Not suitable for less solubility products
reduce the drying temperature

III. Selection Criteria Based on Operating Parameters


With such understanding on the types of dryers, one would have a good idea of
which type of dryer to use in given applications. The dryer selection criteria based on
major operating parameters are highlighted in this section.

1. Scale of Production

Figure 10. Classification of Dryers Based on the Scale of Production

2. Physical Form of Feed

Figure 11. Classification of Dryers Based on the Physical Form of Feed

IV. Design of Rotary Dryers

Design of a rotary dryer only on the basis of fundamental principle is very difficult.
Few of correlations that are available for design may not prove to be satisfactory for
many systems. The design of a rotary dryer is better done by using pilot plant test data
and the full scale operating data of dryer of similar type if available, together with the
available design equations. A fairly large number of variables are involved such as solid
to be dried per hour, the inlet and exit moisture contents of the solid, the critical and
equilibrium moisture contents, temperature and humidity of the drying gas. The design
procedure based on the basic principles and available correlations is discussed below. In
this case we assume that the solid has only unbound moisture and as shown in Figure
12 in stage II the solid is at the wet bulb temperature of the gas.

Figure 12. Temperature profile for solid and gas in a counter current rotary dryer

1. Rules of Thumb [4]

Rotary cylindrical dryers operate with superficial air velocities of 5-10ft/.sec,

sometimes up to 35 ft/sec when the material is coarse.
Residence times are 5-90 min.
Holdup of solid is 7-8%.
An 85% free cross section is taken for design purposes.
In countercurrent flown, the exit gas is 10-20C above the solid; in parallel flow,
the temperature of the exit solid is 100C.
Rotation speeds of about 4 rpm are used, but the product of rpm and diameter in
feet is typically between 15 and 25.

2. Design Proper
Rotary dryers have the feed materials pass through a rotating cylinder together
with a stream of hot gas. Internal lifters or flights elevate the feed and drop it in a curtain

from the top to the bottom cascading along the length of the dryer. Material moves from
one end of the dryer to the other by the motion of the material falling due to the angle of
inclination of the drum.
A cocurrent direct-heat rotary dryer will be used to dry the raw material. This will
be used because it is suited for relatively free-flowing and granular materials. Also, it is
suited for low and medium temperature operations. It is relatively low capital cost and
labor cost. Cocurrent dryers are more suitable for material that must be dried to very low
moisture contents or where the last traces of moisture are difficult to remove.

Dryer Shell
Material lifters

Chain Drive Assembly

Wet Feed
Air Seal
Support Roller
Riding Ring

Thrust Roller

It can be made from a variety of materials, including
carbon steel, or special stainless steel alloys.
It is used to pick up material, carry it over, and shower it
through the stream of gas. It also helps maximize
efficiency of heat transfer between the material and the
It includes chain and sprocket, reducer, and motor. This is
the motor behind the actual rotation of the drum. A gear
and pinion setup could also be used here in place of the
chain and sprocket. A reducer takes down the speed of
the motor for higher torque applications.
It is where feedstock is fed into the system, typically by a
feed screw or chute.
It is where the entering steam meets the drum.
It supports the weight of the drum which made out of
It adds structural support for the drum, and a place for
pressure to be absorbed. The riding ring rides on the
support roller.
It pushes on the riding ring to stop the drum from drifting,

Exhaust Gas

Product Discharge

or moving horizontally.
It is where spent gases and hot air (and small
particulates) exit the system. Typically goes to a scrubber
or bag house. Exhaust gas almost always needs to go
through some sort of ventilation system before it is
expended into the atmosphere, in order to clean the
exhaust air and remove anything hazardous from it.
It is where product exits the system.

1. Rotary dryers usually operate with 10 to 15 percent of their volume filled with material
(Perry and Green, Perrys Chemical Engineers Handbook, 7th ed., sec 12-55).
2. The mass velocity of the gas is in the range of 2000 to 25000 kg/m 2-h (400 to 5000
lb/ft2-h) (Harriot, McCabe & Smith, Unit Operations in Chemical Engineering, 5 th ed., pp.
3. Rotary dryers are operated most economically when the number of heat transfer units
is between 1.5 and 2.5 (Harriot, McCabe & Smith, Unit Operations in Chemical
Engineering, 5th ed., pp. 796).
4. Air-mass velocities in rotary dryers usually range from 0.5 to 5.0 kg/m 2s. An air rate of
1.4 kg/m2s can usually be safely used (Perry and Green, Perrys Chemical Engineers
Handbook, 7th ed., sec 12-55).
5. Dryer diameters range from 1 to 3 m (3 to 10 ft) (Harriot, McCabe & Smith, Unit
Operations in Chemical Engineering, 5th ed., pp. 796).
6. The L/D (length-diameter) ratio found most efficient in commercial practice lies
between 4 and 10. Slopes of rotary-dryer shells vary from 0 to 8cm/m. (Perry and Green,
Perrys Chemical Engineers Handbook, 7th ed., sec 12-54).
7. The flights are usually offset every 0.6 to 2 m to ensure more continuous and uniform
curtains of solids in the gas (Perry and Green, Perrys Chemical Engineers Handbook,
7th ed., sec 12-53).
8. The radial flight heights in a direct dryer will range from one-twelfth to one-eighth of
the dryer diameter (Perry and Green, Perrys Chemical Engineers Handbook, 7th ed.,
sec 12-56).
9. A value of 30 product rpm and diameter with a typical range between 25 and 35
(Walas, Chemical Process Equipment, pp.247).

1. Flow rate of heating air
2. Outlet humidity
3. Dryer geometry
A. Dryer Cross-sectional area
B. Dryer Diameter
C. Dryer Length
D. Dryer Volume
4. Flight geometry
A. Flight arrangement
B. Number of flights
C. Height of flights
5. Rotational speed
6. Residence Time
7. Power Requirement

The flow rate of heating air is found using Equation 24.2 (Harriot, McCabe & Smith,
Unit Operations in Chemical Engineering, 5th ed., pp. 772),

g (1+ H b)c sb (T hbT ha )

qT =m

H b = humidity of gas at inlet

c sb = humid heat of gas at inlet humidity

g = mass rate of dry gas
The humid heat can be found using Figure 23.2 (Harriot, McCabe & Smith, Unit Operations
in Chemical Engineering, 5th ed., pp. 744),

c sb = 0.25 Btu/lb-F. Then, substitute all the

known values in Equation 24.2 to compute for the flow rate of heating air,


(1+ H b) c sb (T hbT ha)

In computing for the outlet humidity, we have to determine first the average rate of
mass transfer,

v . It can be calculated using Equation 24.9 (Harriot, McCabe & Smith,

Unit Operations in Chemical Engineering, 5th ed., pp. 774),

v =m
s ( X A X B )

s = mass rate flow of bone dry solids

Xa = initial moisture content

Xb = final moisture content


= average rate of mass transfer

The outlet humidity, Ha, is determined using Equation 24.10 (Harriot, McCabe & Smith,
Unit Operations in Chemical Engineering, 5th ed., pp. 774),

H a=H b +


Since we have the flow rate of heating air and mass velocity of gas, we can now
compute for the cross-sectional area,



The dryer diameter can be found by using the cross-sectional area which is
computed as,




( )

The dryer length can be computed by using Equation 24.29 (Harriot, McCabe &
Smith, Unit Operations in Chemical Engineering, 5th ed., pp. 796),

qT =0.125 DL G0.67 T
D= dryer diameter, ft
L = dryer length, ft
G = mass velocity of the gas of dryer cross-section, lb/h-ft2

= average temperature difference, taken as logarithmic mean of wet-bulb

depressions at inlet and outlet of dryer

However, we have to determine first the value of

by using Equation 24.7 (Harriot,

McCabe & Smith, Unit Operations in Chemical Engineering, 5th ed., pp. 773),

T =

T hbT wb )(T ha T wa )

T hbT wb
T haT wa



0.125 D G


Note: L/D ratio should be in the range between 4 and 10 according to Perry and Green
We can solve for the dryer volume using Equation 24.29 (Harriot, McCabe & Smith,
Unit Operations in Chemical Engineering, 5th ed., pp. 796),

qT =

0.5 G0.67


Then, computing for the dryer volume,



0.5 G 0.67 T

Flights attached to the shell lift up the material and shower it as a curtain through
which the gas flows. The shape of the flights depends upon the handling characteristics of
the solids.

Number of Flights=

Dryer Length


Flight Height=


The rotational speed can be computed with the use of the product of rpm and
diameter value.
The time of passage in rotary dryers can be estimated by the relationships
developed by Friedman and Marshall (Perry and Green, Perrys Chemical Engineers
Handbook, 7th ed., sec 12-56) as given here:

0.23 L

B = 5(Dp)-0.5 = a constant depending upon the material being handled
Dp = wt. average particle size of mannitol crystals, (microns)
F = feed rate to dryer (lb dry material/(hft2 of dryer cross section)
= residence time, min
S = slope (ft/ft)
N = speed (r/min)

L = dryer length (ft)

G = air-mass velocity (lb/hft2)
D = dryer diameter (ft)
By using Equation 12-60 (Perry and Green, Perrys Chemical Engineers Handbook,
7 ed., sec 12-60), we can compute for the total power required to drive a rotary dryer with


N (4.75 dw+0.1925 DW +0.33 W )


bhp = brake horsepower required (1 bhp = 0.75 kW)
N = rotational speed, r/min
W = total rotating load (equipment plus material), lb
w = live load (material), lb
D = riding-ring diameter, ft (D = d+2)
d = shell diameter, ft