What is the difference between climbing and falling film evaporator?



Evaporators are crucial equipment used in various industries for concentrating liquids. Climbing film evaporators and falling film evaporators are two common types of evaporators, each with its own unique features and advantages. In this article, we will explore the differences between climbing film and falling film evaporators, their working principles, design considerations, and applications. Let's delve into the details!

Working Principle of Climbing Film Evaporator

1. What is a Climbing Film Evaporator?

A climbing film evaporator is a type of evaporator that operates by vaporization from a thin film of the liquid flowing upwards against the gravity through the heating surface of the evaporator. The liquid is introduced at the top of the heating surface, and as it flows down due to gravity, it gets evaporated, separating the volatile components from the non-volatile components.

2. How does it work?

The liquid enters the evaporator through a distribution system, which evenly spreads it as a thin film onto the heating surface. Heat is supplied to the heating surface, causing the liquid film to evaporate. The vapor travels upwards and is condensed, while the concentrated liquid product is collected at the bottom of the evaporator. The climbing film evaporator operates under vacuum conditions to reduce the boiling point of the liquid, enhancing its evaporation rate.

Design Considerations for Climbing Film Evaporators

1. Surface Area and Residence Time

To ensure efficient evaporation, climbing film evaporators require a sufficient heating surface area. The size and length of the evaporator should be designed to allow the liquid to flow evenly as a thin film. Additionally, the residence time of the liquid on the heating surface should be carefully considered to achieve the desired evaporation levels.

2. Heat Transfer and Uniformity

Proper heat transfer is crucial for effective evaporation. The evaporator's heating surface should be designed to maximize the heat exchange between the heating medium and the liquid film. Additionally, maintaining uniform heat distribution across the evaporator's surface ensures consistent evaporation rates.

Differences between Climbing Film and Falling Film Evaporators

1. Flow Pattern

The primary difference between climbing film and falling film evaporators lies in the flow pattern of the liquid film. In climbing film evaporators, the liquid flows upwards against gravity, while in falling film evaporators, the liquid flows downwards due to gravity.

2. Heat Transfer

Climbing film evaporators offer better heat transfer due to the liquid film's thinness, allowing efficient heat exchange between the heating surface and the liquid. Falling film evaporators, on the other hand, have a lower heat transfer coefficient due to the thicker liquid film compared to climbing film evaporators.

3. Residence Time

Climbing film evaporators typically have a longer residence time for the liquid compared to falling film evaporators. This extended residence time allows for better separation and concentration of volatile components.

4. Evaporator Size and Capacity

Falling film evaporators are often larger in size compared to climbing film evaporators. This is because falling film evaporators have a higher liquid flow rate due to the liquid flow being driven by gravity. Climbing film evaporators, with their slower liquid flow, are suitable for smaller-scale applications.

Applications of Climbing Film and Falling Film Evaporators

1. Climbing Film Evaporator Applications

Climbing film evaporators find extensive use in the food and beverage industry for concentrating juices, extracts, and dairy products. They are also employed in the pharmaceutical industry for processing medicinal extracts and solutions. Additionally, climbing film evaporators are utilized in wastewater treatment plants for concentrating industrial wastewater before disposal.

2. Falling Film Evaporator Applications

Falling film evaporators are commonly used in the oil and gas industry for separating oil and gas mixtures. They are also employed in the chemical industry for concentrating various solutions and suspensions. Falling film evaporators find applications in the dairy industry for the production of powdered milk and other dairy products.


Climbing film and falling film evaporators are two different types of evaporators used for concentrating liquids. While climbing film evaporators operate with an upward liquid flow against gravity, falling film evaporators operate with a downward liquid flow. Climbing film evaporators offer better heat transfer and longer residence time, making them suitable for specific applications. Falling film evaporators, due to their larger size and higher liquid flow rate, are better suited for different industries. Understanding the differences between climbing film and falling film evaporators allows industries to choose the most suitable evaporator type for their specific needs.


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