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Published by Lunga Dan Patso

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Published by: Lunga Dan Patso on Oct 03, 2012
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My work

Problem: The marketing director wants a model that accurately predicts pressure-drop as a
function of velocity in fluidized beds.
- Ergun equation was developed for fixed beds system not fluidized beds.

- To show using correct statistical methods whether the Ergun equation is appropriate
for the modelling of liquid fluidized beds.
- If not, to propose and test alternative model/s for estimating the pressure drop in
liquid fluidized beds.
- To investigate the sensitivity of Ergun equation to propagation of error.
- Laboratory scale fluidised bed reactor ( ID 70mm) with distributor plate.
- Silica particles (m=1200g, dp=600-850 m, s=2.7 g/cm3 in water = 1g/cm3
- Rotameter – to measure the fluid flow rate through the column
- Manometer – to measure the pressure drop through the column
- Stop watch

Literature review
of solids
log uc

Voidage: The fraction of the bed volume not occupied by particles.
At fluidization, the gravity force on the particles in the bed
must be balanced by the drag, buoyancy, and pressure

Minimum fluidization velocity: The velocity of the fluid required to suspend the particles i.e the
velocity of the fluid at which the upward drag force of the fluid is equal to the apparent weight of the
Fixed bed: A bed of stationary, closely packed particles through which fluid flows in a chemical
Fluidised bed: A bed of particles through which fluid flows at a high velocity, causing the particles to
separate from each other and the bed to expand. The particle-fluid mixture behaves as though it were
a single fluid.

Ergun equation

φ – Sphericity of particles
f –

Fluid viscosity (kg/m.s) = 0.001 Pa·s
A – Cross sectional area of the bed (m
– Supercritical fluid viscosity (m/s)
– Fluid density (kg/m
Q - Water flow rate through the bed (m
ID – Inner diameter of tube (m)
L = bed height (m)

Equation which is applicable for laminar flow where viscous effects are dominant. The equation is
represented by:

Analysis of linear regression
- Determine significance of linear correlation
o As a single curve
o Separated to before and after fluidisation
- Compare residual mean squares (F-test)-------------------------------mean separation
- Compare gradients (F-tests)
Statistics used to compare steps
1. Linear regression
2. Test correlation
3. F-test – comparing residual mean squares
4. T-test – mean separation between the lines

Alternative methods
- Wen-Yi equation [ at minimum fluidisation velocity]
Wen Yu equation



Determination of the minimum fluidization velocity using the Wen-Yu equation:







- Modified Ergun equation
A possible model for the system could be to use a modified Ergun equation, where the voidage (e) of
the bed is not fixed but varies with each different bed height. The equation is given below.

- Linear regression

 ΔP across a reactor is of key importance in system design.
 Fixed B at different fluid velocities ΔP modelled→Ergun Equation.
 However for Fluidised B a more accurate model required to describe ΔP.
 The task was to investigate whether the Ergun equation is appropriate and if it was
not, an alternative model should be developed to predict ΔP for a Fluidised B.


 Distributor Plate: Perforated plate situated below the Fluidised B through which the
incoming stream passes through and is thus distributed evenly through the cross-
sectional area of the column.
 Fluidised: A particular state when particles within Fluidised B start behaving in a
similar fashion to the fluid passing through it and therefore exhibit a fluidic nature.
 Sphericity: Degree to how spherical a particle is.
 Void Fraction: Fraction of the particle bed that is not occupied by the particles
 Viscous E Loss: E lost by the fluid due to the viscosity of the fluid.
 Kinetic E Loss: E lost by the fluid due to the resistance of motion through the bed.

Literature Review:

 As fluid moves up the bed the solid particles experience two major forces,
gravitational force due to its weight and the drag force due to its interaction with the
moving fluid. Eventually a fluid velocity is reached where the drag force on the solid
particle is numerically equal in magnitude to the gravitational force. Velocity is called
minimum fluidisation velocity. As the velocity increases the particles in the bed
become suspended due to the resultant upward force. The bed is now fluidised.


 Ergun underestimated ΔP in the Fluidised B.
 Even though the Ergun Equation has shown to be an underestimation, it has
successfully predicted ΔP to a certain extent.
 Also, according to the plot the errors are not that big and do not overlap the
experimental values, this tells us that ΔP using the Ergun is no where near to our
experimental values.
 Deviation of the Ergun equation is expected.
 Wen-Yu also underestimated ΔP in the Fluidised B.
 Because these equations are for a Fluidized B we can only evaluate ΔP above the
minimum fluidization velocity.
 The underestimation is constant.
 Thus, Fluidized B model not appropriate for the solid liquid Fluidized B in question.
 Main reason for this may arise from the fact that the equation used in the Fluidization
B model is a very general equation which applies to several different types of
fluidizing media.


 Error propagation was carried to check the sensitivity of the Ergun Equation.
 Errors in bed height, velocity and void fraction were calculated and then propagated
to obtain errors in the ΔP values.
 Evident that errors in the ΔP values calculated using Ergun much higher than those
in the Experimental ΔP values and ΔP values calculated using the Fluidised B model.
 Not surprising since error in the Ergun equation combination of errors in the bed
height, velocity and void fraction.

Experimental Procedure
- Open the main pipe and inlet valve to allow the water to flow through the
- Set the volumetric flow rate to 20l/hr by slowly adjusting the manometer
- Measure the height of the bed using a tape measure and read off the
pressure from the rotameter
- Repeat this for each volumetric flow rate up to 200l/hr at 20l/hr intervals,
wait for steady state and then record the readings
- Do the same for decreasing volumetric flow rate i.e. fluid flowing
- Repeat this 5 times for each different set of readings to increase the
accuracy of the results.
- Take the average value for each set of readings

Shut down procedure

| ÷

| ÷
= U
d d U dL
| c
µ c
| c
µ c
3 2 2 3
) 1 (
75 . 1
) 1 (

- After doing the practical ensure that all valves and the main pipe
line are closed.

 Calculated ∆P from Ergun
equation and plotted:-
 ∆P vs U (for both the model and
 ∆Pexp/(L*U) vs U (∆Pexp is the
measured pressure drop)
 ∆Perg/(L *U) vs U

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