Chemical Engineering Science 62 (2007) 7184 – 7195 www.elsevier.

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CFD simulations of gas–liquid–solid stirred reactor: Prediction of critical impeller speed for solid suspension
B.N. Murthy, R.S. Ghadge, J.B. Joshi ∗
Department of Chemical Engineering, Institute of Chemical Technology, University of Mumbai, Matunga, Mumbai 400 019, India Received 19 April 2007; received in revised form 27 June 2007; accepted 9 July 2007 Available online 13 July 2007

Abstract In this work, simulations have been performed for three phase stirred dispersions using computational fluid dynamics model (CFD). The effects of tank diameter, impeller diameter, impeller design, impeller location, impeller speed, particle size, solid loading and superficial gas velocity have been investigated over a wide range. The Eulerian multi-fluid model has been employed along with the standard k– turbulence model to simulate the gas–liquid, solid–liquid and gas–liquid–solid flows in a stirred tank. A multiple reference frame (MRF) approach was used to model the impeller rotation and for this purpose a commercial CFD code, FLUENT 6.2. Prior to the simulation of three phase dispersions, simulations were performed for the two extreme cases of gas–liquid and solid–liquid dispersions and the predictions have been compared with the experimental velocity and hold-up profiles. The three phase CFD predictions have been compared with the experimental data of Chapman et al. [1983. Particle–gas–liquid mixing in stirred vessels, part III: three phase mixing. Chemical Engineering Research and Design 60, 167–181], Rewatkar et al. [1991. Critical impeller speed for solid suspension in mechanical agitated three-phase reactors. 1. Experimental part. Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research 30, 1770–1784] and Zhu and Wu [2002. Critical impeller speed for suspending solids in aerated agitation tanks. The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering 80, 1–6] to understand the distribution of solids over a wide range of solid loading (0.34–15 wt%), for different impeller designs (Rushton turbine (RT), pitched blade down and upflow turbines (PBT45)), solid particle sizes (120–1000 m) and for various superficial gas velocities (0–10 mm/s). It has been observed that the CFD model could well predict the critical impeller speed over these design and operating conditions. ᭧ 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Stirred tank; CFD; Eulerian–Eulerian; Three phase flows; Gas–liquid–solid

1. Introduction Stirred reactors involving three phases, gas, liquid and solid, are very common in the chemical and allied industries. The solid phase may act as a catalyst or undergo a chemical reaction. Typical applications include catalytic hydrogenation, Fischer–Tropsch synthesis, oxidation of p-xylene to terephthalic acid, production of polymers using suspension polymerization, oxidative leaching of ores and many other economically important reactions. Various examples of industrial importance have been compiled by Nigam and Schumpe (1996). In some of these applications, the reaction occurs between a dissolved gas and a liquid-phase reactant in the presence of a solid catalyst. In some other cases, the liquid is an inert medium
∗ Corresponding author. Tel.: + 91 22 2414 5616; fax: + 91 22 2414 5614.

E-mail address: jbj@udct.org (J.B. Joshi). 0009-2509/$ - see front matter ᭧ 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.ces.2007.07.005

and the reaction takes place between the dissolved gas and the solids. The performance of these reactor types depends upon efficient and simultaneous dispersion of gas and suspension of solid particles. The complexity of the flow generated in the system (3D, recirculating and often turbulent) has compelled the researchers, designers and the practicing engineers to resort to empirical approach to tackle the problems associated with the design, scale-up and optimization of three phase stirred reactors. In order to reduce existing state of empiricism, during the past 30 years, an attempt is being made to understand the underlying fluid mechanics and its relationship with the design parameters. In particular, the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and the experimental fluid dynamics (EFD) have led to better understanding of the detailed hydrodynamics in single phase flow systems. However, in the case of gas–liquid and liquid–solid flows, relatively scanty work has been published using both the EFD and CFD techniques. Further, because of

The modeling of multiphase turbulent flows is much more complex and computationally expensive for three phase flows mainly because the influence of the dispersed phases on turbulence of the continuous phase.( S ∈S u S u S ) eff . In addition.( jt S ∈S ) jt + ∇ .LG − CDO = 6. Turbulence closure In the present work the standard k– model for single phase flows has been extended for the three phase flows with extra terms that include interphase turbulent momentum transfer (Elgobashi and Abou-arab. the added mass force. experimental data for the local velocities and the local gas and solid phase hold-ups are also not available which are useful for the validation of CFD models. simulations have been performed for gas–liquid. L ∈L uL ) = 0. The motion of each phase is governed by respective mass and momentum conservation equations.LS . 2005). particle size. practically no published information is available on the CFD simulations of three phase systems. where p is the pressure.(∈L L ∈L g + (∇ uL )T )) (5) + MI. interpenetrating and interacting with each other everywhere in the computational domain. (10) L ∈L ) + ∇ . which is as follows: 16 CDO = [0.( = −∈L ∇ p + ∇ . liquid and solid phases are all treated as different continua. where the gas.LG = MD.2. etc. 2001and Khopkar et al. Therefore.( G ∈G uG uG ) eff .LS . . The continuity equation for each phase is j( j( j( G ∈G ) j( S ∈S u S ) jt + + ∇ . However. and MI is the interphase transfer force. g is the gravitational acceleration.LG 4 dB 3 CD. Murthy et al. eff is the effective viscosity. / Chemical Engineering Science 62 (2007) 7184 – 7195 7185 even additional complexities associated with the three phase systems. in proportion to their volume fraction. the derivation of the conservation equations for mass and momentum for each of the three phases is done by phase weighted Favre-averaging (Viollet and Simonin..LS 4 dp L ∈G |uG L ∈S |uS (7) − uL |(uG − uL ).( G ∈G uG ) = 0.LS dp 2.S (∇ uS = −∈S ∇ p + ∇ .N. and then no additional turbulent dispersion term is introduced into the continuity equation. 2. Montante et al.4 tanh − 1 + 0. It has been reported that the other forces have no considerable effect on both the gas–liquid and solid–liquid hydrodynamics in stirred tanks (Ljungqvist and Rasmuson. CFD modeling In the present work. the lift. liquid–solid and gas–liquid–solid dispersions under different design (mainly impeller design and sparger design) and operating conditions (such as solid loading.LS = 3 CD. In FLUENT.(∈S S ∈S g + (∇ uS )T )) (6) − MI. (1) (2) (3) . The drag coefficient exerted by the gas phase on the liquid phase is obtained by the modified Brucato drag model (Khopkar et al.. The momentum balance equation for each phase is j( G ∈G u G ) jt + j( jt + + ∇ . it has been assumed that the turbulence in multiphase stirred tanks is (11) where is the density.1. L ∈L u L u L ) eff . the solid suspension process depends upon the quality of gas–liquid dispersion in the absence of solids and the quality of solid–liquid dispersion in the absence of gas. The objective of this study was to undertake CFD simulations for the prediction of critical impeller speed for the solid suspension.(∈G G ∈G g L ∈L u L ) + (∇ uG ) )) T − MI.L (∇ uL (4) + ∇ .( The drag coefficient exerted by the solid phase on the liquid phase is calculated using the drag law proposed by Pinelli et al. and u is the velocity vector of each phase. S ∈S uS ) = 0. 2001. the contribution of drag force has been considered while the effect of the other forces has been ignored. For this purpose. 2.G (∇ uG = −∈G ∇ p + ∇ . ∈ is the volume fraction. 2006). CD. 1994) the local instantaneous balances for each of the phases. (2001). (8) (9) − uL |(uS − uL ). which is as follows: dp CD.LG .5 × 10−6 CDO 3 jt + ∇ . The drag force exerted by the dispersed phase on the continuous phase is calculated as MD. Interphase momentum transfer Interactions between the phases involve various momentum exchange mechanisms such as the drag. The pressure field was assumed to be shared by the three phases. where CD is the drag coefficient and d is the diameter of a bubble (dB ) or a particle (dp). 1983) to take into account the effects of turbulence.B. superficial gas velocity and the impeller speed). in the present three phase CFD turbulence modeling. an Eulerian multi-fluid model has been adopted to describe the flow behavior of each phase.6]2 . The volume fractions satisfy the compatibility conditions ∈G + ∈L + ∈S = 1.LG + MI. In the case of a three-phase stirred tank system..

All terms of the governing equations are discretized using the QUICK scheme.08 m z 0. 3. grid elements of 600.L L ∇ L kL (C 1 PkL − C 2 L ) + ∈L L L. C = T /3 T = 0. Regarding boundary conditions.7186 B.15 l/s N = 300 rpm. C = T /3 T = 0. C = T /3 T = 0. The SIMPLE algorithm has been employed for the pressure–velocity coupling. All the simulations have been carried on the 16 node. VG = 0. The details of the reactor geometry and the operating parameters are given in Tables 1 and 2. The set of governing equations are solved by a finite control volume technique. When refining the mesh.39 m. For the case of Zhu and Wu (2002). N = 1000 rpm = 2520 kg/m3 .N. A multiple reference frame (MRF) approach has been used for the simulation of impeller rotation.3.2. ring sparger = 0. Further.18 m.19T . (12) The equations of change for the turbulent kinetic energy (k) and the energy dissipation rate for the liquid phase are given by D ∈L L kL = ∇ ∈L Dt + ∈L D ∈L L Dt + ∈L L (PkL L + t. the grid spacing was reduced by a factor of 2 till the comparison of the two consecutive cases showed that the reduction of the grid size did not generate a noticeable difference in simulation results.24 m.225.2. / Chemical Engineering Science 62 (2007) 7184 – 7195 restricted within the continuous phase. the mean bubble size of 3 mm has been used for all the simulations. tank walls. Method of solution Steady state simulations were performed for the different types of impeller. In this method.50 m. in this study a very high quality of mesh (skewness < 0. The bubble size distribution in the stirred tank reactor depends on the design and operating parameters.12 and 0. However. care was taken to put most additional mesh elements in the regions of high gradient around the blades and the discharge regions. D = T /3 Glass particles: dp = 327 m S Solids details Glass particles: S = 2660 kg/m3 .19 m. 1975).L kL ∇ kL kL .1 m VG = 0. (14) Here kL and L represent the influence of the dispersed phase on the continuous phase and the predictions for turbulence quantities for the dispersed phases are obtained using the Tchen theory of dispersion of discrete particles by homogeneous turbulence (Hinze. The number of grid elements in all the three directions in both the impeller and the outer zone were systematically increased. solid concentration and superficial gas velocity.8D . N = Nj s N = 210 rpm. Tetrahedral elements were used for meshing the geometry and a good quality of mesh was ensured throughout the computational domain using the GAMBIT mesh generation tool.0. C 2 = 1. H = T . it is apparent from the literature that both the gas–liquid and liquid–solid two phase flows have been successfully simulated by the standard k– turbulence model with some modifications. agitation speeds.10 m z 0. = 1. where the entire vessel has been considered for the simulation. In this work. The convergence criterion (sum of normalized residuals) was set at 10−4 for all the equations. computational domain is divided into impeller zone (rotating reference frame) and stationary zone (stationary reference frame). a method that has been reported to dampen instabilities (FLUENT 6. Hence.09.800 have been used in all the studies.7) has been ensured throughout the computational domain. Murthy et al. Therefore. since its variation does not bring obvious changes to the simulation results. D = T /3 6-PBTD. D = T /2 4-PBTD. At a liquid surface. In order to check the sensitivity of the simulation result on the grid size. For all the simulations. The value of the molecular viscosity of solid k = 1. (2004) Reactor geometry T = 0. The turbulence viscosity of the continuous phase is obtained by the k– model: t. the boundary of the rotating domain was positioned at r = 0. 2. D = T /3 6-PBTD. 0. H = T . all the simulations have been performed using the commercially available CFD software FLUENT 6.45 mm Operating variables Solid conc. = 0.16 and 0. experimental data of bubble size distribution in the present case is not available in the published literature.20 m. dp = 0. 32 processor AMD64 cluster with a clock speed of Table 1 Geometrical details of the gas–liquid and liquid–solid system References Barresi and Baldi (1987) Mishra and Joshi (1991) Aubin et al. The standard values were used for the turbulence parameters: C 1 = 1. Unfortunately. phase is set to be the same as that of water.6C . = 1. the rotating domain was positioned at r = 0. particle diameter. It was initially assumed that the particles were uniformly distributed in the liquid. we have been restricted to use tetra mesh elements due to more number of case studies and complex geometry. (2004) Angst et al. sparger location = 0.000–700.15. − L ) + ∈L L (13) L = ∇ ∈L L + t.5 kg/100 kg. a small gas zone was added at the free surface of water.L = C L 2 kL L . As regards the particular mesh quality. the impeller surfaces and baffles have been treated as no-slip boundary surfaces with standard wall functions.44.92. 2005) and only gas is allowed to escape using pressure outlet boundary condition which means top surface being exposed to atmospheric pressure. . sparger location = 0. H = 1. 3 vol%. 0. H = T . C = 0. C = T /3 Impeller 4-PBTD.116. ring sparger = 0.042 l/s Solid conc.

49 (Fig. = 3 wt%. However. (2001) drag model was used. C = T /4 Rewatkar et al. 1 shows the schematic representation of stirred system with stream lines and particles trajectories. 0. 2 and 3 vol%) which is in good agreement with the experimentally measured velocities.20 mm/s Solid conc. The impeller geometry and reactor details are given in Table 1. 0.31 and 0. ring type (SR) Operating variables Solid conc.15 rps. 4B–D that the present model has predicted the decrease in the mean liquid velocity (at z/T = 0. The above simulations have been carried out using the modified Brucato drag model (Khopkar et al. VG = 5. 225. 2 (z/T = 0. 15 wt%. Results and discussions 4. 5. Therefore.40) with an increase in the solid concentration (1. the present simulations have been focused on the bulk flow properties such as the critical impeller speed for solid suspension and qualitative features of liquid circulation. Total simulation time for each case was around 120 h.B. Simulations have been performed over a wide range of experimental conditions as summarized in Table 2. experimental data on gas and solid hold-up profiles are not available in the published literature. N = 6. (2004).7 wt%.6. Three phase flows In Section 4. the validity of the CFD model was shown for gas–liquid and solid–liquid systems.49 (C) and 0.57 m. particle image velocimetry (PIV) data of Aubin et al. Schematic set-up: (A) streamlines. C = T /3 Zhu and Wu (2002) T = 0. The influence of solid particle concentration on the mean liquid velocity has been studied using CFD and compared with the experimental data of Angst et al. (1983) T = 0.8.15 rps Chapman et al. 700 m 2660 kg/m3 . Fig. PBTD45. 2.1. 6.5.N. D/T = 1/3 DT.31 (B).4. / Chemical Engineering Science 62 (2007) 7184 – 7195 Table 2 Summary of experimental details References Reactor geometry Impeller DT. VG = 2.4 GH and 2 GB memory with each node. D/T = 0.41 Solids details Glass particles: S = dp = 150. 12. N = 8. PBTD45.56 m. Pinelli et al. .1. Further. Glass particles: dp = 10.30 mm/s.12 rps. N = 6. Two phase flows It was thought desirable to confirm the validity of the model for the two extreme cases of gas–liquid and solid–liquid dispersions.19. For a gas–liquid system. for the case of three phase systems. 460.5.39 m.65 (D)) shows an excellent agreement between the predictions and experimental data. Fig. H = T . Fig.3. 340. 450 m Quartz particles: S = 2520 kg/m3 . 0.. 3).19 (A). H = T . (B) particle trajectories. 8 and 15 mm/s Solid conc. = 3. (2004) (see Table 1) have been used for the comparison of radial profiles of the mean axial velocity at various axial locations generated by PBTD45 with D/T = 0.425 m S 7187 Sparger details Ring type (SR) Pipe (SP) and ring type (SR) Pipe (SP). VG = 10. 1.8. experimental data of Mishra and Joshi (1991) have been used for the comparison of radial gas hold-up profiles at various axial locations. Murthy et al. (1991) T = 0. In case of gas hold-up profiles. dp = 180. For solid–liquid systems. H = T . 4.2. 4. = 1. C = T /3 = 2520 kg/m3 . It can be seen in Figs. 4. From Fig. 4 it can be seen that the CFD predictions of the axial solid concentration profiles are in good agreement with the experimental measurements of Barresi and Baldi (1987). D/T = 1/3 Rushton turbine. 2006) with an appropriate grid resolution. the present model is quite successful in predicting the local gas hold-up values at various axial locations of z/T = 0.

PBTU impeller generates one circulation loop and the liquid flow moves upwards toward the surface of liquid and turns down to the bottom.1 0.8 -0.3 -0. etc. a PBTD impeller is relatively more efficient under otherwise identical design and operating parameters (T . a solid loading of 3.2 0.2 0.N.3 0. 4. As a result. Fig. PBTD impeller (Fig.02 0 1 -0. Zhu and Wu (2002). Each stream creates a circulation loop.5 and 8 rps).6 0. (C) z/T = 0.15 0.2. Solid suspension studies The suspension of solid particles in a three phase gas–liquid–solid system has been studied by Zlokarnik and Judat (1969). Wong et al. Therefore. for all the three impellers.05 0. P /V .4 0. These studies have been critically reviewed by Kasat and Pandit (2005).2.2 0. and is directly available for the suspension. Only a part of the energy supplied by the impeller. It was thought desirable to undertake systematic CFD simulation of three phase stirred dispersions.6 0. The length of the liquid path and the number of direction changes are greater in the case of PBTU and DT as compared that for PBTD flow. The predicted liquid–velocity vectors have been depicted in Figs.1 0.4 0. (1987). the energy associated with the PBTD flow (in the bottom region) is much higher than the DT and PBTU flows and hence the turbulence intensity for the PBTD impeller is also relatively high.2.6 0.2 0.06 -0. Chapman et al. The simulated gas hold-up distribution in the mid-plane between the two baffles shows gas accumulation in the low-pressure region behind the impeller blades forming the so-called gas cavities.8 1 0 -0.04 0 0.4 0.).4 wt% and for the impeller speeds (N ) above the respective critical speeds for gas dispersion (7.2 -0. Subbarao and Taneja (1979).5. PBTD45 and PBTU45 impellers have been computed for a superficial gas velocity of 2 mm/s.2 0. (1983) in Table 3. It can be observed that the present CFD model is able to capture all the qualitative flow features generated by various impellers.2 0.19 m.65 m: experimental. (B) z/T = 0. C. Queneau et al. the liquid flow leaving the impeller travels in the radial direction and near the wall splits into two streams.1 0. is available in the bottom region for performing various functions such as solid suspension.2 -0. Comparison between the simulated and experimental profiles of the dimensionless mean axial velocity for PBTD45 at various axial levels.3 0 0. The CFD predictions of the overall gas hold-up have been compared with the experimental data of Chapman et al. / Chemical Engineering Science 62 (2007) 7184 – 7195 0. VG . one below and one above the impeller.4 0. (-) 0 0 -0.1 -0. r/R (-) Fig. (1975). which is associated with lower loop.8 1 -0.08 NORMALISED RADIAL COORDINATE. Gross flow field The gas–liquid–solid flows generated by DT.04 0. (2004).1. Murthy et al. and Dohi et al.8 1 -0. (1983). 6. In the . W/Utip.49 m.31 m. 5B) generates one circulation loop where the flow leaving the impeller is downward toward the bottom of the tank. 4. A satisfactory agreement can be seen between the CFD predictions and the experimental measurements. — CFD predictions. (A) z/T = 0. 5A shows that. D. (1991). Rewatkar et al.4 0. H.6 0.1 0 0 -0.3 0.02 -0. 5A–C. The simulations have been validated by comparing the CFD predictions and the experimental measurements of critical impeller speed for solid suspension over a wide range of design and operating conditions (Table 1).7188 B.06 0. Wiedmann and Efferding (1980).1 DIMENSIONAL MEAN AXIAL VELOCITY.05 -0. in the case of DT impeller. (D) z/T = 0. 2.

Effect of impeller design.2). for DT and PBTU impellers the present CFD model predicts a significant quantity of unsuspended particles present on the tank bottom. It can be noted that there is a sharp reduction in the standard deviation as the impeller speed approaches NCS . Earlier it has been shown that DT. Figs.3 0. — CFD predictions.2 0. at NCS . PBTD45 is more efficient than the DT and PBTU impellers.3 rps (PBTU)). more particles get suspended.2. (C) z/T = 0. This further shows that. 7D–F show the axial concentration profiles with respect to impeller rotational speed for all the three impeller designs. at the experimentally measured values of NCS (6.8).B.8 NORMALISED RADIAL COORDINATE.1 0 0 0. For brevity. For uniform (homogeneous) suspensions.8 (0. Therefore. the value of the standard deviation lies between 0. 180 m and pipe sparger). On the basis of the quality of the suspension.3 0. Further.4 defined as = 1 n n 1 0. It can be clearly seen from Fig.N.1 0 0 (-) 0.4 0.2 0. In the present study.78. the range of the standard deviation has been broadly divided into three ranges (Oshinowo and Bakker.49 m: experimental.4 0.75 rps (PBTD). offer different efficiencies for the suspension operation. This means.75. . Murthy et al.6 0. the standard deviation was calculated using the values of ∈S stored at all computational cells. 10.4 0.1 0 0 0. In order to understand the quantitative role of the impeller design. / Chemical Engineering Science 62 (2007) 7184 – 7195 7189 0.2 0.76 and 0.3 ∈S −1 ∈S 2 .8 1 0. Comparison between the simulated and experimental profiles of the fractional gas hold-up for PBTD45 at various axial levels. The position of solids on the tank bottom (N > NCS ) depends on the impeller design. qualitative results are shown in Figs.2 0.2 0.4 wt% solid loading. CFD simulations have been carried out for the three impeller designs and at different impeller speeds. which has been based on the value of standard deviation of solid concentration. Bohnet and Niesmak (1980) quantified the suspension quality using the standard deviation FRACTIONAL GAS HOLD-UP. 6 shows the variation of the standard deviation with respect to impeller speed. However.2 0. (15) 0. 7A–C at the critical impeller speeds. and hence. the value of decreases rather slowly.4 0. we have extended the method proposed by Bohnet and Niesmak (1980) for solid–liquid system. r/R (-) 1 Fig. where n is the number of sampling locations used for measuring the solid phase hold-up. the particles are suspended from an annular space around the center of the tank bottom. the critical impeller speed for suspension was considered to be achieved when the predicted value of was 0. It can be noted that. respectively.2.2 and 0. 2002). it is difficult to incorporate Zwietering’s criterion in the CFD simulation of critical impeller speed for solid suspension. 7 that in the case of DT and PBTU impellers.1. Fig. Further. at a constant loading of solid particles and superficial gas velocity. The increase in the degree of homogenization (better suspension quality) is manifested as the reduction of the value of standard deviation. when the impeller speed is gradually increased. PBTD and PBTU impellers generate different flow patterns.2 < < 0. (15) for all the three impeller designs (VG = 4 mm/s. for the “just suspension condition”. 3.6 0. 3. Therefore.2 ( < 0.31 m.8 1 0. It is evident that the impeller speed required for suspension by a PBTD impeller (in fact P /V ) is much lower than required by PBTU and DT impellers. 4. (B) z/T = 0. (A) z/T = 0.6 0. the value of the standard deviation is found to be smaller than 0.4 G 0. 0.19 m. whereas for a PBTD impeller suspension occurs from the periphery of tank bottom. beyond NCS .8. the corresponding predicted values of are 0.76. where the axial solid concentrations Eulerian–Eulerian approach as used in this work. The CFD simulations were performed to calculate the values of the standard deviation using Eq.25 rps (DT) and 9. and for an incomplete suspension. with an increase in the impeller speed. (2006). The same methodology has successfully been employed by Oshinowo and Bakker (2002) and Khopkar et al. > 0.

N.0 1.2 0. / Chemical Engineering Science 62 (2007) 7184 – 7195 0.2 0.0 0. Fig.6 0.2 -0. W/Utip (-) 0. : dp = 208. (B) Comparison of experimental and predicted dimensional mean axial profiles with mean dispersed phase volume fractions of (B) 1 vol%. : dp = 417. Axial velocity (mm/s) vectors for liquid in presence of gas and solid in the mid-plane between two baffles: (A) DT.8 1 DIMENSIONLESS MEAN AXIAL VELOCITY.500 m) for 4-PBTD. .3 0.8 1 0. (D) 3 vol%. 5. r/R (-) 0 0. Murthy et al.1 -0.2 0. (C) PBTU45.4 0.2 -0.4 0. (C) 2 vol%.1 -0. W/Utip (-) 0. (B) PBTD45.0 0.5 C/Cavg 1.4 0.1 0 -0. (A) Comparison of experimental and predicted axial solid concentration profiles at Nj s of different particle sizes ( : dp = 100.3 NORMALISED RADIAL COORDINATE.4 DIMENSIONLESS MEAN AXIAL VELOCITY.3 0.6 0.2 -0. stirrer speed 1000 s−1 : experimental. W/Utip (-) 1.3 NORMALISED RADIAL COORDINATE.4 0.7190 B.1 0 -0.177 m.2 0.2 0.6 0. — CFD predictions.0 0.8 0. 4.1 -0.1 0 0 -0.8 1 Fig.3 DIMENSIONLESS MEAN AXIAL VELOCITY.2 0.5 0. r/R (-) 0.2 0.4 0.250 m. r/R (-) 0 0.6 z/T 0.3 NORMALISED RADIAL COORDINATE.

pipe sparger.5. 8 shows a good agreement between the CFD predictions and the experimentally measured data for all the impeller designs.2. On the introduction of gas (VG = 2 mm/s) experimentally it has been reported that the solid particles settle down due to a decrease in the circulation velocity as well as the liquid turbulence. Table 4 shows an excellent agreement between the values of NCS for PBTD. 340 and 700 m with PBTD45. Effect of solid loading. 4. Further.7 wt%. DT and PBTU for given reactor geometry (pipe sparger). (17). j (-) 2 1 PBTD (CFD) 2 DT (CFD) 3 PBTU (CFD) are made dimensionless by dividing local solid concentration by the average solid concentration.8 and 10 mm/s. Fig. CFD simulations were performed to investigate the effect of solid loading on the critical impeller speed for solid suspension. However. 4B–D) the decrease in liquid flow with an increase in the solid loading.8 5. Fig. 4. respectively. it was thought desirable to study the predictive capabilities of the present CFD model for various particle sizes. the predicted axial dimensionless concentration profiles with respect to increasing impeller speed are shown in Fig. it confirms the fact that.2.2.3. 180 m and pipe sparger). Impeller speed (s−1 ) 3.5 5 7191 in the particle size.6 wt%.14 2. Whereas with DT and PBTU impellers there is a remarkable rise in on the introduction of gas and more and more solid particles start getting settled with increasing VG . This essentially means that PBTD impeller is 2. With increasing particle size the settling velocity increases and there is a decrease in the homogeneity of the suspension. The predicted values of standard deviation are shown in Fig. It can be seen that the present CFD model was able to predict a gradual increase in with an increase in VG for PBTD impeller and hence relatively less particles tend to settle down at the bottom of the reactor. As a result there is a reduction in the solids’ cloud height. Further. The qualitative distribution of solids in the absence of gas at the critical impeller speed of 6. for a given tank and impeller configuration and for fixed set of operating conditions. Experimentally it was observed that the effect of VG on the amount of solids suspended depends upon the type of impeller because the reduction in power with increasing VG varied with the type of impeller.4 2 1 1. 180. N (1/s) Fig. 11C.5 2.32 % Gas hold-up (∈G ) Experimental 1 2 3 1. (3) PBTU (VG = 4 mm/s. 11B. (2) DT. In order to study the capability of the present CFD model to simulate the effect of superficial gas velocity on the distribution of solids.6.2.4. Effect of particle size. i.N. It can be noted that with an increase in the impeller rotational speed the amount of solid particles present at the bottom of the reactors has decreased. have been considered (with a PBTD45 impeller. 6.. 10 shows a good agreement between the CFD predictions and the experimental data on NCS for all the impeller designs and at VG = 2. In order to model the suspension capabilities of all the three impellers at NCS . Murthy et al. The critical impeller speed for solid suspension also depends upon the particle size. 4. CFD predicted values of the standard deviation with respect to impeller rotational speed: (1) PBTD.8 0.7 2. 9.2.B. However.2. The present model is able to simulate (results are not given for brevity but for two phase flows see Figs. CFD simulations have been performed over a wide range of superficial gas velocity. Fig.57 1.3 4 5 Gas sparging rate (m3 /s) 0.2 0. particles of diameter 180 m particles with solid loadings of 3. the simulations of solid suspension were performed using the present model at superficial gas velocities of 2. Therefore. The values of the standard deviation have been calculated using Eq. / Chemical Engineering Science 62 (2007) 7184 – 7195 Table 3 Experimental and predicted values of overall gas hold-up S.6 3 1.5 rps (Rewatkar et al. DT and PBTU45 impellers.4. 9 shows a fairly good agreement between the CFD predicted and the experimentally measured values of NCS . The same behavior has been qualitatively well predicted by the present CFD model as shown in Fig. no. 12. the increased impeller speed has marginal influence on the solid distribution in the top zone of the reactor.4 wt%) and particle diameter (180 m) at 6. uniformity of solids increases with a decrease .4 0 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 IMPELLER ROTATIONAL SPEED.4. higher average liquid velocity is required to suspend the particles. For this.4 wt% solid loading.6 Predicted 1.75) for all the impeller designs are compared with the experimentally measured critical impeller speed. This is because some of the impeller energy dissipates at the solid–liquid interface. 3. 6. pipe sparger. 1991) is shown by the contours of ∈S in Fig. It shows that with increasing impeller speed the amount of particles present at the bottom of the reactors has decreased which has been in agreement with experimentally reported observations. the increased impeller speed has not much influence 1 on the solids distribution in top 4 th of the reactor. Predictions of critical impeller speeds using CFD (when = 0. VG = 8 mm/s and at various impeller rotational speeds). 4 and 8 mm/s (pipe sparger 60 mm). 6. VG = 4.. Therefore. STANDARD DEVIATION.e.2. The simulations have been carried out for the three particle diameters. and 11 rps. Effect of superficial gas velocity.8 mm/s and at various impeller speeds.6 and 12. solid loading (3. 11A.

025 0. the sparger design. no.2.N.8 0. 3 p = 2520 kg/m .2 1.8 0.4 wt%).06 0.8 1.. dp (micron) 800 CFD PBTD (Exp) DT (Exp) PBTU (Exp) still efficient than DT and PBTU on the introduction VG at a given impeller speed.5 11.6 0.4 0.4 0. Effect of impeller type on solid concentration distribution for (A) DT. 8. CRITICAL IMPELLER SPEED FOR SOLID SUSPENSION. VG = 2 mm/s (pipe sparger)).3 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 0 200 400 600 AVERAGE PARTICLE SIZE.5 9. Impeller type Critical impeller speed for off-bottom suspension (NCS ) (1/s) Experimental 1 2 3 PBTD DT PBTU 6.6 wt%. p = 2520 kg/m3 .2 0 0 1 2 3 0 0. Design of sparger.8 mm/s (pipe sparger)).6 wt%. VG = 4. VG = 8 mm/s.0125 0. 1991) by CFD simulations (dp = 180 m. 7.6 wt%.6 0.2 0 0 0.8 1. DT.8 500 rpm 550 rpm 600 rpm 0.e.5. PBTD. dp = 180 m.5 9. p = 2520 kg/m3 .2 0 1 0.6 0. i.4 0. / Chemical Engineering Science 62 (2007) 7184 – 7195 0. Murthy et al. NCS (1/s) Table 4 Effect of impeller type on solid concentration distribution for (dp = 180 m. in order to model the effects of sparger design on NCS the present CFD model is used. Fig..2 1.018 0.7192 B.6 2 360 rpm 420 rpm 480rpm 1 0. It is evident from Table 5 that the predicted NCS values agree fairly well with the .4 0.2 11. VG = 2 mm /s (pipe sparger)) S. (C) PBTU at NCS (Rewatkar et al.6 2 620 rpm 680 rpm 580 rpm Fig. — CFD predictions (dp = 180 m. sparger is located at 100 mm from the bottom and solid loading of 3.1 Simulated 6. 6.4 0. PBTU (experimental). 6. (B) PBTD. Therefore.2. 6. 4. The flow generated by all the impeller types get modified by the presence of gas and also the way in which the gas is sparged into tank. Comparison of experimental and predicted critical impeller speeds for different impeller designs. The simulations of solid suspension were performed for the pipe sparger and ring spargers of different diameter (with a PBTD45.00 1 0.

4 0. 450 and 550 rpm. NCS (1/s) 10 8 experimental values for all the sparger designs. VG (mm/s) 10 Table 5 Design of sparger on solid concentration distribution for PBTD (dp = 180 m.4 2 3 2 0 0 5 10 15 SOLID LOADING.85e-02 1. — CFD predictions. NCS (1/s) 11 0 2 4 6 8 10 SUPERFICIAL GAS VELOCITY. It can be noted that the ring sparger provides lower value of NCS compared to that for the pipe sparger. / Chemical Engineering Science 62 (2007) 7184 – 7195 7193 CRITICAL IMPELLER SPEED FOR SOLID SUSPENSION. 180 m and pipe sparger).20e-02 1 0. VG = 8 mm /s) S.B. (ring sparger.6 wt%.00e-02 2. CRITICAL IMPELLER SPEED FOR SOLIDSU SPENSION. 11. (B) VG = 2 mm /s. PBTU (experimental). 3 p = 2520 kg/m . σ (-) 6 1 PBTD (CFD) 2 DT (CFD) 3 PBTU (CFD) 1 1. — CFD predictions (dp = 180 m.25 7 6. (A) VG = 0 mm /s.. 9.VG (mm/s) 12 10 9 Fig.6 2 1. .6 wt%. Further.N.20e-02 5. Effect of superficial gas velocity on solid concentration distribution for PBTD by CFD simulations at 6.5 7. 1991) (dp = 180 m.95e-02 2. 0. VG = 2. 6.) Fig. no. (C) dimensionless axial concentration profiles at 390. sparger having large ring diameter is found to give the lowest value of NCS compared to 2. PBTD.5 Simulated 8 7. Sparger type Critical impeller speed for off-bottom suspension (NCS ) (1/s) Experimental 1 2 3 4 5 SP60 SR95 SR190 SR152 SR420 7.5 rps (Rewatkar et al. 12. p = 2520 kg/m3 .d.4 0.2 0.)). 3 p = 2520 kg/m . (3) PBTU (3.75 7. Effect of solid loading on the critical impeller speed for PBTD (dp =180 m. VG =8 mm/s (pipe sparger)): experimental.6 z/T 450rpm 4.00e-02 4. 6.6 1. 4 and 8 mm/s (pipe sparger)).4 wt%.8 0. Comparison of experimental and predicted critical impeller speeds for DT.00e-00 Fig. (2) DT.6 wt%.2 6.8 1.8 STANDARD DEVIATION. p =2520 kg/m3 . wt.4 0 2 4 CFD PBTD (Exp) 2. 6. 5.00e-00 0. Murthy et al.095 mm o.5 7.5 7 6 Fig. various superficial gas velocities.8 7.85e-02 0.2 C/Cavg 1.2 0 0 0. 10. X (%.8 390rpm 550rpm 0. CFD predicted values of the standard deviation at NCS with respect to superficial gas velocity: (1) PBTD. 8 CFD PBTD (Exp) DT (Exp) PBTU (Exp) 0 2 4 6 8 SUPERFICIAL GAS VELOCITY.95e-02 0.

pitched blade down and upflow turbines (PBT45)). Rewatkar et al. the predicted critical impeller speeds have been compared with the experimental results of Chapman et al. The Eulerian multi-fluid model along with the standard k– turbulence model has been used to simulate gas–liquid.N. (1983). (B) ring sparger (0. A very good agreement was observed in all these cases.. kg/m3 drag coefficient in turbulent liquid drag coefficient in still liquid bubble diameter. Figs. m turbulent kinetic energy. for different impeller designs (Rushton turbine (RT). kg/m1 s3 time. (1991) and Zhu and Wu (2002) over a wide range of solid loading (0.7194 B. SR95 and SR420). rps pressure. / Chemical Engineering Science 62 (2007) 7184 – 7195 Fig. C C Cavg CD CDO dB dp D g H k MD N NCS Nj s p P PK t T u V VG w z 2 turbulence model constants solid concentration. Conclusions (1) In the present work. Murthy et al. The suggested value of holds for different impeller designs and over a wide range of particle size.2 CFD software.d. solid particle sizes (180–1000 m) and for various superficial gas velocities (0–10 mm/s). (5) For three phase dispersions. m . kg/m3 average solid concentration. s−1 critical impeller speed for solid suspension in gas–liquid–solid system. solid loading and superficial gas velocity. The concentration distribution is more uniform with SR420 compared to SP60 and SR95. s tank diameter. 6. m impeller diameter. p = 2520 kg/m3 . N/m3 impeller rotation speed.42 m o.34–15 wt%). three phase stirred suspension has been simulated using FLUENT 6. m particle diameter. Effect of sparger on solid concentration distribution for PBTD at NCS (Rewatkar et al. 9. 5. SP60. m/s width of the impeller blade. m/s volume of the reactor. m acceleration due to gravity.d. W turbulence production.). 13A–C show the contour plots of ∈S at NCS in the mid-baffle plane for the three sparger designs (for brevity. (2) A very good agreement was found between the predicted and the experimental velocity and ∈G profiles in gas–liquid dispersions. solid–liquid and gas–liquid–solid dispersions.).75) has been suggested for the prediction of critical impeller speed for solid suspension.095 m o. VG = 10 mm/s): (A) pipe sparger (0. Notation C .06 m). Pa power consumption. rps critical impeller speed for just suspension. 13. (3) A very good agreement was also found between the predicted and experimental profiles of ∈S over a wide range of impeller speed and the impeller design. C 1. Therefore. m2 /s2 drag force per unit area.8 m/s2 liquid height. Experimentally it has been observed that the ring sparger with diameter 2D (SR420) sparges the gas along the periphery and generates the flow pattern in the same direction as that generated by the impeller action of PBTD. 1991) by CFD simulations (dp = 180 m. m axial co-ordinate direction.6 wt%. (C) ring sparger (0. m average velocity. m3 superficial gas velocity. the smaller one which are in good agreement with the experimental findings. (4) By using the concept proposed by Oshinowo and Bakker (2002) a value of standard deviation ( = 0. it helps to maintain better suspension of the solid particles throughout the reactor.

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