Prilling is a common process in the fertilizer industry, where the fertilizer melt is converted to droplets that fall, cool down and solidify in a countercurrent flow of air in a prilling tower. A vibratory granulator was used to investigate liquid jet breakup into droplets. The breakup of liquid jets subjected to a forced perturbation was investigated in the Rayleigh regime, where a mechanical vibration was applied in order to achieve the production of monodispersed particles. Images of the jet trajectory, breakup, and the formed drops were captured using a high-speed camera. A mathematical model for the liquid outflow conditions based on a transient two-dimensional Navier–Stokes equation was developed and solved analytically, and the correlations between the process parameters of the vibrator and the jet pressure that characterize their disintegration mode were identified. The theoretical predications obtained from the correlations showed a good agreement with the experimental results. Results of the experiments were used to specify the values of the process parameters of the vibration system, and to test them in the production environment in a mode of monodispersed jet disintegration. The vibration frequency was found to have a profound effect on the production of monodispersed particles. The results of experiments in a commercially-sized plant showed that the granulator design based on this study provided prills with a narrower size range compared to the conventional granulators, which resulted in a substantial reduction in dust emission.
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