pH/ORP Control In NaOH Production
Using Membrane Cell Process
Caustic soda has traditionally been produced by the Mercury (Hg) Cell process. Today, however, industries worldwide are switching to advanced Membrance Cell Technology. This technology produces energy savings of approximately 30% and eliminates mercury contamination. The average capacity of a plant using the Mercury Cell Process is about 200 tons per day. In contrast, the Membrance Cell Process allows smaller users to produce caustic on-site for captive consumption. pH measurement is critical in the production of caustic, but difficult to measure under adverse process conditions such as :
. Presence of stray voltage
. high salt cocentration
. high alkalinity
. high variable temperature
. presence of corrosive chemicals
Grounding the process
stream helps, but pH fluctuations still
persist. This application note shows the
superiority of Bela Instruments' Differential
Electrode Technique for pH and ORP measurement.
A typical Membrance Cell Process is shown in Figure 1. Pure brine is fed to the anode chamber of the membrance cell. Part of the 32% caustic (NaOH) beingused is diluted to 31 % caustic and is then fed to the cathode chamber of the membrance cell. Anolyte, impure brine with chlorine and chlorine compounds, is produced by the anode chamber. The anolyte is further processed to eliminate chlorine and precipitates, make up brine strength and remove calcium (Ca +2) and magnesium (Mg +2) ions.
FIGURE 1 Typical Membrane Cell Process Flow Chart
4 to 14 pH
4 t0 14pH
0 to 6 pH
As process streams come in contact with the electrolytic cell, stray voltages are created in the brine feed as well as the downstreams. Traditionally, a "current interrupter system", which involves grounding the process stream, has been used with conventional pH sensor installation (Figure 2). This, however, has been generally unsatisfactory.
FIGURE 2 Conventional pH/ORP Sensor Installation
with Current Interrupter System
FIGURE 3 BI'3
Differential Electrods Technique
LCP pH/ORP Sensor Installation
The Differential Electrode
Technique pH and GAP sensors (With 1-1/2"
NPT tee) are easy to mount in the process
piping as shown in Figure 3. The PVDF
sensor body resists virtually all chemicals
and is well suited for this process. Also,
the DEMT eliminates the need for a current
interrupter system. Figure 1 shows five
critical measuring PVDF points throughout
the Membrance Cell Process where Bl's
PVDF pH and ORP sensors have proven to
be successfully applied.
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