A. Bakshi, C. Altantzis, R.B. Bates, A.F. Ghoniem, Study of the effect of reactor scale on fluidization hydrodynamics using fine-grid CFD simulations based on the two-fluid model, Powder Technology, Volume 299, October 2016, Pages 185-198, ISSN 0032-5910, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.powtec.2016.05.029.
Abstract: Reliable scale-up of fluidized beds is essential to ensure that analysis and performance optimization at lab-scale can be applied to commercial scales. However, scaling fluidized beds for dynamic similarity continues to be challenging because flow hydrodynamics at lab-scale are largely influenced by bed geometry making extrapolation of conclusions to large-scales infeasible. Therefore, this study is focused on analyzing the effect of bed geometry on the fluidization hydrodynamics using large-scale CFD simulations. The two fluid model (TFM) is employed to describe the solids motion efficiently and simulations are conducted for fluidization of 1150 μm LLDPE and 500 μm glass beads in beds of different sizes (diameter D = 15–70 cm and initial bed height H0 = 10–75 cm). The hydrodynamics are subsequently investigated qualitatively using time-resolved visualizations, bubble centroid and solids velocity maps as well as quantitatively using detailed bubble statistics and solids circulation metrics. It is shown that as the bed diameter is increased, average bubble sizes decrease although similar-sized bubbles rise faster because of lower wall resistance, both factors contributing to faster solids circulation. On the other hand, fluidization hydrodynamics in 50 cm diameter bed are relatively insensitive to the choice of H0 and similarities in solids circulation patterns are observed in shallow beds as well as in the lower regions of deep beds. Finally, it is shown that the size and spatial-distribution of bubbles is crucial for maintaining dynamic similarity of bubbling beds. Specifically, the bed dimensions (D, H0) must ensure that (a) bubbles are typically much smaller than the bed diameter and (b) solids circulation patterns are similar across scales of interest. Overall, insights from this study can be used for describing the gas distribution and solids motion more accurately for better design of commercial beds.
Keywords: Fluidized bed; Scale-up; Bubble dynamics; Solids circulation; Two-Fluid Model