What is the working principle of climbing film evaporator?


What is the Working Principle of a Climbing Film Evaporator?


In the world of industrial processes, evaporation plays a vital role in concentrating various liquid solutions. There are several types of evaporators used for different applications, and one such type is the climbing film evaporator. This article will delve into the working principle of a climbing film evaporator, its components, and its applications in various industries.

Understanding Evaporation:

Evaporation is a process that involves the conversion of a liquid into a gaseous state by applying heat. It is a common method used to separate solutions, purify substances, and concentrate liquids. Evaporators, such as the climbing film evaporator, are used extensively in the chemical, food processing, pharmaceutical, and wastewater treatment industries.

The Basics of Climbing Film Evaporators:

Climbing film evaporators are specifically designed to handle heat-sensitive products that require gentle evaporation. They excel in evaporating liquids with high viscosity, solids content, or those prone to fouling. The principle behind their operation lies in creating a thin film of liquid on the heat transfer surface, ensuring efficient and controlled evaporation.

Working Principle of Climbing Film Evaporator:

The climbing film evaporator operates based on the phenomenon of liquid rising due to surface tension. The liquid feed, known as the "thin liquor," is fed into the evaporator's top section. Inside the evaporator, the thin liquor forms a thin, uniform film against the vertical heat transfer surface, typically a tube bundle. This surface is heated by steam or a heating medium, achieving the desired evaporation.

1. Liquid Distribution System:

One key component of a climbing film evaporator is the liquid distribution system. It ensures uniform distribution of the thin liquor onto the heat transfer surface. This system typically consists of a distributor, which may employ various mechanisms such as perforated plates, spraying nozzles, or gravity flow channels.

2. Film Formation and Climbing:

As the thin liquor flows down the heat transfer surface, it forms a continuous film due to surface tension. This film creation is facilitated by the proper design of the evaporator, including the selection of the appropriate liquid flow rate, tube spacing, and surface characteristics. The formed film climbs upwards, experiencing evaporation along the way.

3. Vapor Generation and Separation:

In the climbing film evaporator, the heat source, commonly steam, transfers its energy to the film, causing the liquid to vaporize. The generated vapor moves countercurrently to the liquid flow, separating from the liquid film. This countercurrent flow enhances heat transfer efficiency and ensures effective evaporation of the thin liquor.

4. Vapor-liquid Disengagement:

It is crucial to separate the vapor and liquid phases to achieve efficient operation. Within the climbing film evaporator, a vapor-liquid disengagement section or separator is incorporated. This component allows the vapor to escape while any remaining liquid is collected and recirculated back to the liquid distribution system. Proper design and sizing of the disengagement section are vital to prevent carryover of liquid droplets with the vapor.

Applications of Climbing Film Evaporators:

Climbing film evaporators find applications across various industries due to their gentle evaporation process. Here are some common applications:

1. Food Processing:

The food industry extensively utilizes climbing film evaporators for concentrating fruit juices, milk, and other liquid food products. The gentle evaporation process ensures minimal loss of flavors and nutrients.

2. Pharmaceutical Industry:

Climbing film evaporators are employed in the pharmaceutical industry for concentrating and purifying drugs, herbal extracts, and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). The gentle evaporation methodology minimizes thermal degradation of sensitive pharmaceutical compounds.

3. Chemical Industry:

In chemical manufacturing processes, climbing film evaporators are utilized for concentrating various chemical solutions, such as organic solvents, polymers, and intermediates. The evaporator's design ensures efficient evaporation while maintaining product integrity.

4. Wastewater Treatment:

Climbing film evaporators play a role in wastewater treatment facilities for concentrating and treating wastewater streams. The evaporation process helps remove excess water from the wastewater, reducing its volume and facilitating further treatment.

5. Recycling and Resource Recovery:

In recycling and resource recovery processes, climbing film evaporators aid in concentrating and separating valuable substances from waste or byproducts. They play a significant role in reducing waste and maximizing resource utilization.


Climbing film evaporators offer an efficient and gentle evaporation process for various industries. By understanding their working principle, including liquid distribution, film formation, vapor generation, and separation, one can appreciate their significance and broad applications. With their ability to handle heat-sensitive products and provide controlled evaporation, climbing film evaporators contribute to the advancement of numerous industrial processes.


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