A. Gundai, C. Hare, M. Ghadiri, M. Pasha, P. Piccione
Chemical Engineering Research and Design
Coating of particulate solids by a thin film layer is of interest in many industrial applications such as seed and tablet coating. In seed processing, seeds are commonly coated with a protective coating layer consisting of fertilisers and disease control agents, such as pesticides and fungicides. Batch coaters are commonly used for this purpose.A typical coater consists of a vertical axis cylindrical vessel with a rotating base and a spray disc in the centre, onto which the coating liquid is fed to atomise and spray-coat the seeds. The seeds are driven around the vessel by its rotating base, and are mixed by two baffles; one on either side of the vessel. In the present study, Distinct Element Method (DEM) simulations are used to model the seed coating process. Corn seed are used as a model material and their shape is captured using X-Ray Tomography (XRT), which is approximated in the DEM by clumped spheres.The coating uniformity of the seeds is predicted by implementing a coating model in the DEM, whereby the coating droplets are simulated as very fine spheres projecting tangentially from a ring at the edge of the spinning disk. The size and velocity of droplets leaving the spray disk are measured using high speed video imaging and implemented into DEM simulations. The coating mechanism is represented in the DEM by considering that once a droplet contacts a corn seed, it is removed from the simulation and its mass is attributed to the coating of the corn seed.The distribution of mass of sprayed spheres on the corn seeds and their coefficient of variation are evaluated for a range of process conditions, such as the base rotational speed, atomiser disc position relative to the base and baffle arrangement and designs. It is found that the atomiser disc vertical position, baffle angle and clearance to the wall are most influential, whilst the base rotational speed and baffle width and curvature have only minimal effect.
coating, coating optimisation, Coating uniformity, drum coater, Particle shape, Process optimisation