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Lube-Tech


Figure 4 shows the two current microwave reaction vessels side by side. These vessels are not jacketed which reduces manufacturing cost. Due to the shape of the new vessel being longer in length, the waveguides were split to form four points of entry. Since two microwave transmitters are used, each transmitter feeds its microwaves into two branches (Figure 4 bottom).


PUBLISHED BY LUBE: THE EUROPEAN LUBRICANTS INDUSTRY MAGAZINE


No.123 page 4


cooking. In cooking on a stove in a pot, the hot products rise, and the cooler products flow downward to replace them. This creates a natural convection. In microwave heating however, the products are heated from the top and the heated products remain on top. So, the products need to be circulated or mixed to prevent the formation of hot spots on top. Otherwise, microwave will overheat the top layers of the product while the bottom could remain unheated.


Improvement 1: Application of microwaves from the bottom of the vessel. When applying the microwaves from the top of the vessel, the air space above the product are also exposed to microwaves and are heated. While this is not a problem with atmospheric vessels that include sufficient air flow, it could become a source of hazard in a pressurised vessel when low flash point vapours are present. The patent pending improvement introduced the microwaves from the bottom of the vessel with the use of a microwave transparent barrier.


Figure 4: (Top): Original vertical reactor used for manufacturing Lithium based grease with two waveguide entries; (Bottom) Top of the reactor with four microwave waveguide entries


Process Update and Improvements Over the last 10 years, several improvements have been incorporated into the current process. They include safe and successful processing of mineral oil-based products and processing of chemicals. Heating with microwave from the top of a vessel is different than the natural convection heating that takes place in conventional


Figure 5: Illustration of microwave application from the bottom of the vessel


LUBE MAGAZINE NO.152 AUGUST 2019


29


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