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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Influence of liquid and gas flow rates on sulfuric acid mist removal from air by packed bed tower

Mohammad Javad Jafari1*, Roohollah Ghasemi1, Yadollah Mehrabi2, Ahmad Reza Yazdanbakhsh3 and Majid Hajibabaei1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Occupational Health Engineering, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Epidemiology, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Environmental Health Engineering, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

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Iranian Journal of Environmental Health Science & Engineering 2012, 9:20  doi:10.1186/1735-2746-9-20

Published: 10 December 2012


The possible emission of sulfuric acid mists from a laboratory scale, counter-current packed bed tower operated with a caustic scrubbing solution was studied. Acid mists were applied through a local exhaust hood. The emissions from the packed bed tower were monitored in three different categories of gas flow rate as well as three liquid flow rates, while other influencing parameters were kept almost constant. Air sampling and sulfuric acid measurement were carried out iso-kinetically using USEPA method 8. The acid mists were measured by the barium-thorin titration method. According to the results when the gas flow rate increased from 10 L/s to 30 L/s, the average removal efficiency increased significantly (p < 0.001) from 76.8 ± 1.8% to 85.7 ± 1.2%. Analysis of covariance method followed by Tukey post-hoc test of 92 tests did not show a significant change in removal efficiency between liquid flow rates of 1.5, 2.5 and 3.5 L/min (p = 0.811). On the other hand, with fixed pressure loss across the tower, by increasing the liquid/gas (L/G) mass ratio, the average removal efficiency decreased significantly (p = 0.001) from 89.9% at L/G of <2 to 83.1% at L/G of 2–3 and further to 80.2% at L/G of >3, respectively. L/G of 2–3 was recommended for designing purposes of a packed tower for sulfuric acid mists and vapors removal from contaminated air stream.

Packed tower; Scrubber; Sulfuric acid; Flow rate