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Improved sugar cane juice clarification by understanding calcium oxide-phosphate-sucrose systems

It is accepted that the efficiency of sugar cane clarification is closely linked with sugar juice composition (including suspended or insoluble impurities), the inorganic phosphate content, the liming condition and type, and the interactions between the juice components. These interactions are not well understood, particularly those between calcium, phosphate, and sucrose in sugar cane juice. Studies have been conducted on calcium oxide (CaO)/phosphate/sucrose systems in both synthetic and factory juices to provide further information on the defecation process (i.e., simple liming to effect impurity removal) and to identify an effective clarification process that would result in reduced scaling of sugar factory evaporators, pans, and centrifugals. Results have shown that a two-stage process involving the addition of lime saccharate to a set juice pH followed by the addition of sodium hydroxide to a final juice pH or a similar two-stage process where the order of addition of the alkalis is reversed prior to clarification reduces the impurity loading of the clarified juice compared to that of the clarified juice obtained by the conventional defecation process. The treatment process showed reductions in CaO (27% to 50%) and MgO (up to 20%) in clarified juices with no apparent loss in juice clarity or increase in residence time of the mud particles compared to those in the conventional process. There was also a reduction in the SiO2 content. However, the disadvantage of this process is the significant increase in the Na2O content

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