Experimental and Computational Fluid Dynamics Investigation on Tanning Process in a Rotating Drum

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Yirui Lin
Zhoucheng Jiang
Ya-nan Wang
Yunhang Zeng
Guo Xie
Bi Shi


Mass transfer of chemicals greatly affects leather production efficiency and product quality. Leather shows different motions in a rotating drum during processing, which is strongly associated with chemicals’ mass transfer. However, how leather motions affect mass transfer remains unclear, which disfavors highly efficient leather manufacturing process. Here, different leather motion states were obtained by adjusting the drum rotation speed. Experimental results showed that the duration of leather rolling motion greatly increased by 41% when the rotation speed increased from 5 r/min to 20 r/min, and the uptake of the tanning agent was consequently improved, which indicated that the rolling motion is beneficial to mass transfer. Computational fluid dynamics simulation results showed that the mass transfer rate under rolling motion was higher than those under slipping, elevating and hanging motions, because the flow velocity and concentration gradient near the leather surface were higher under rolling motion. Accordingly, increasing the rolling motion enhanced the mass transfer in leather processing. This work identifies the leather motion beneficial for mass transfer and provides guidance on operating condition optimization and drum design for high-efficiency leather production.

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