PH Control Systems

Final Element Rangeability

Requirement is extraordinary and depends upon titration curve and influent flow variability. Metering pumps are capable of 20:1 to 200:1, valves with positioners are capable of 50:1 or more, and a pair of split-ranged valves are capable of 1000:1 or more. pH swing that valves can handle can be determined as the base 10 logarithm of the rangeability for unbuffered titrations. If range-

ability is 1000:1, the controllable pH swing is 3; for 100,000:1, it is 5

Final Element Precision and Characteristics

Requirement is exceptional and depends upon titration curve and desired control band. Electronically set metering pump and valves with positioners have repeatability from 0.1 to 2.0%. Linear valve characteristics are generally preferred.

Control Loop Dynamics

Effect of extreme nonlinearity and sensitivity of a pH process is diminished by a reduction in loop dead time. Ratios of loop dead time to time constant less than 0.02 are needed for setpoints on the steep portion of the titration curve to dampen oscillations. Reagent delivery delay is often the largest source of loop dead time.

Design Considerations

For proper mixing, process requires either an in-line mixer with 0.2 minute measurement filter and upstream and downstream volumes or a vertical, well-mixed vessel for attenuation of oscillations. Close-coupled control valve with ram valve or check valve to injection point and reagent dilution is needed to reduce reagent delivery delay. Additional stage of neutralization is needed for an inlet pH more than 2 pH units away from a small control band or whenever the final element rangeability or sensitivity requirement is excessive.

Reaction Tanks

Liquid depth should equal diameter, retention time should not be less than 5 minutes (10 to 30 minutes for lime), and dead time should be less than 1/20th of the retention time. For strong acid-strong base neutralizations, one, two, or three tanks are recommended for influent pH limits of 4 to 10, 2 to 12, and 0 to 14, respectively. Influent should enter at top, and effluent should leave at the bottom.

Agitator Choices

Propeller (under 1000 gallon [3780 1] tanks) or axial-flow impellers (over 1000 gallons [3780 1]) are preferred. Flat-bladed radial flow impellers should be avoided. Acceptable impeller-to-tank diameter ratio is from 0.25 to 0.4. Peripheral speeds of 12 fps (3.6 m/s) for large tanks and 25 fps (7.5 m/s) for tanks with volumes less than 1000 gallons (3780 1) are acceptable

Mixing Equipment

In-line mixer residence time should be less than 10 seconds and a well-mixed vessel residence time should be greater than 5 minutes. The vessel agitator should provide both a pumping rate greater than 20 times the throughput flow and a vessel turnover time less than 1 minute. Solid and gas reagents require a residence time greater than 20 times the batch dissolution time. Gas reagent injection needs a sparger designed to reduce bubble size and improve bubble distribution.

Setpoint Location

A setpoint on the flat portion of a titration curve reduces pH process oscillation and sensitivity and the control valve precision requirement.

pH Sensor Location

Insertion assemblies in pumped recirculation lines are preferred for increased speed of response, decreased coating, improved accessibility, and auto on-line washing and calibration. Insertion in recirculated lines is preferred by some.

Continuous Control Techniques

Flow feedforward for high loop dead time or rapid flow upsets. pH feedforward is only effective for influent pH on a relatively steep portion of the titration curve. A head start of reagent flow is needed for first stage when flow feedforward is not used. Signal linearization of measurement is beneficial for a constant titration curve. Self-tuning is helpful

Section 7.7 treats the subject of pH measurement. This section begins with an explanation of the difficult nature of the pH process; next, the process equipment used in pH control systems is described, including such topics as the selection of reagent delivery systems, mixing equipment, tank sizing, and other considerations. A discussion of the pH controller and its tuning rounds out the first half of the section, and the second half describes the various pH control applications.

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