In many energy and process engineering systems where fluids are processed, droplet-laden gas flows may occur. As droplets are often detrimental to the system's operation, they need to be removed. Compact engineering solutions for the removal of entrained droplets are difficult to achieve with conventional flow control and heat transfer approaches and thus droplet removal devices are hence often costly and bulky. In this study, we analyzed the potential of a compact technology based on droplet capture and in situ evaporation by microwave heating. For that, we designed a microwave applicator containing a porous droplet separator for capturing and evaporating droplets. The application of open-cell ceramic foams as filter medium reduced 99.9% of the volumetric flow of droplets, while additional microwave exposure increases reduction to 99.99%. In addition, microwave-heated foams prevent droplet re-entrainment and structure-borne liquid accumulation within foams, thus avoiding water clogging and flooding.
Keywords: droplet removal; evaporation; microwave heating; open-cell foams.