An experimentally validated simulation model for a four-stage spray dryer

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In this paper, we develop a dynamic model of an industrial type medium size four-stage spray dryer. The purpose of the model is to enable simulations of the spray dryer at different operating points, such that the model facilitates development and comparison of control strategies. The dryer is divided into four consecutive stages: a primary spray drying stage, two heated fluid bed stages, and a cooling fluid bed stage. Each of these stages in the model is assumed ideally mixed and the dynamics are described by mass- and energy balances. These balance equations are coupled with constitutive equations such as a thermodynamic model, the water evaporation rate, the heat transfer rates, and an equation for the stickiness of the powder (glass transition temperature). Laboratory data is used to model the equilibrium moisture content and the glass transition temperature of the powder. The resulting mathematical model is an index-1 differential algebraic equation (DAE) model with 12 states, 9 inputs, 8 disturbances, and 30 parameters. The parameters in the model are identified from well-excited experimental data obtained
from the industrialtype spray dryer. The simulated outputs ofthe model are validated using independent well-excited experimental data from the same spray dryer. The simulated temperatures, humidities, and residual moistures in the spray dryer compare well to the validation data. The model also provides the profit of operation, the production rate, the energy consumption, and the energy efficiency. In addition, it computes stickiness of the powder in different stages of the spray dryer. These facilities make the model well suited as a simulation model for comparison of the process economics associated to different control strategies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Process Control
Pages (from-to)50–65
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Spray drying
  • Multi-stage dryer
  • Process simulation
  • Process modeling
  • Experimental data

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