Principles for separation

A separation process may be defined as a unit operation that divides multi-component or multi-phase material into two or more components and/or phases, using physical, thermal, chemical or biological principles. It may involve changing the phase of the matter. Some separation technologies combine two or more of these principles. The basic process for separating three phases of matter, with each phase containing three components, is shown in Fig. 12.1. The commonly applied separation technologies for treatment of the food processing wastes are shown in Fig. 12.2.

Separation can be achieved in a single- or multiple-step operation. Adding steps may increase the quality of the final product but may also increase capital and operation costs. If the separation involves m steps and each step has a similar recovery efficiency of e, overall recovery efficiency can be calculated as follows (Liddell, 1994):

Overall recovery = em

With different recovery efficiencies for each of m steps, the overall efficiency can be calculated as follows:

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