TEMPERATURE AND WATER REQUIREMENT FOR LEACHING OF CAUSTIC ALKALI FROM ‘NGU”. A RESEARCH PROJECT TOPICS ON CHEMICAL ENGINEERING
The production and analysis of “Ngu” extract for temperature and water requirement for leaching of casuistic alkali is the basic objective of this project. The production was carried out by using unit operations and also using the female inflorescence of a palm fruit (Eleasis Guineesis) as raw material.
The female inflorescence of palm fruit was size reduced from original dimensions to maintain particle size characteristics. The size reduced bunches were dried at room temperature and at normal atmospheric pressure; after which the sized reduced bunches were burnt at higher temperature. The cooled ashes were dissolved, filtered by using a sieve of mesh size and the filtered solution is the “Ngu” extract.
The pineapple content of the alkali leached from Ngu ash was potassium hydroxide. Material and energy balances, equipment sizing with recommended material of construction, costing and profitability analysis was done. It should however, be noted that a profitable project could be embarked upon if the equipments to be fabricated locally which also reduce foreign exchange being extended on the importation of potassium hydroxide.
Temperature and water requirement for leaching of caustic alkali from Ngu refers to the extraction of a soluble constituent from a solid by means of a solvent. The process may be employed either for the production of a concentrated solution of a valuable solid material, or in order to free an insoluble solid from a soluble material with which it is contaminated.
The method used for the extraction will be determined by the proportion of soluble constituent present, its distribution throughout the solid, the nature of the solid and the partied size. The main constituent is usually potassium oxide which often comprises nearly 50% of the total weight of ash.
In this project, the major parameters that must be fixed or identified among other are the solvent used, the temperature and the leaching cycle. The main objective of this research was therefore to identify the suitable temperature and solvent (water) quantity required to give optimum result when alkali, taken as koH, is to be leached from Ngu ash.
IMPORTANCE OF POTASSIUM HYDROXIDE
The need for chemical raw materials for most chemical industries has been on the increase, following the increase in the world population and man’s need for their products. These chemicals includes those used for diverse production such as production of soap, candle, margarine, plastics and other products.
The chemical raw materials includes sodium hydroxide (HaoH), potassium hydroxide (koH), calcium hydroxide (CaCoH2), sodium hydrogen trioxocarbonate (iv) among others, industrially, these chemicals are manufactured from various sources and through diverse chemical processes and reactions. These processes and reactions which these chemicals are produced are usually complex and requires a high cost of production.
As a result of this production, the prices of the chemicals are not affordable for the average production Engineer and as a result necessities of life as well as the ways of handling or producing them, the chemical engineer whose goal is to mocimize profit and save cost is now faced with many challenges.
The “Ngu” is locally obtained from the female palm inflorescence of oil palm tree. The large inflorescence (female) consists of a branched perides of numerous, unisexual regular flowers. The panicles which is subtended by a woody branch as sometimes referred to as the spadic. Usually the flowering occurs set the beginning of the dry season.