Multiphase contactors are intensively used in chemical, biochemical, pharmaceutical, petrochemical, and others industries. The complexity and diversity of industrial processes implies that different types of gas-liquid contactors have been developed and constructed, such as bubble columns, airlifts, oscillatory flow reactors, pipes and tubes, mechanical agitated tanks, packed columns, plate and tray columns, spray towers, jet (loop) reactors, tubular Venturi ejectors, and motionless mixers. Mixing, heat, and mass transfer performance characterize the different reactors, and choosing the best reactor for a certain application is not an easy task. System characteristics such as viscosity, surface tension, density, and the presence or absence of solids, among others, have a high influence on the mixing process as well as heat and mass transfer. This chapter provides a general introduction to mixing, heat, and mass transfer in bioreactors. An analogy is also explored between these properties and reactor design, in particular for bubble column, airlift, and stirred-tank reactors.
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