M

ESO-SCALE STRUCTURE ⎯ A CHALLENGE OF COMPUTATIONAL

FLUID DYNAMICS FOR CIRCULATING FLUIDIZED BED RISERS

Wei Ge*, Wei Wang*, Weigang Dong, Junwu Wang, Bona Lu, Qingang Xiong and Jinghai Li*

State Key Laboratory of Multi-Phase Complex Systems,

Institute of Process Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences

P. O. Box 353, Beijing 100080, China

* Email: jhli@home.ipe.ac.cn

Abstract - Multi-scale heterogeneous structures are characteristic of the concurrent-up gas-solid

flow in circulating fluidized bed (CFB) risers, which stand for a grand challenge to accurate

simulation

of

industrial-scale

CFB

risers

with

reasonable

computational

cost.

Coarse-grid

simulations

using

traditional

two-fluid

models

(TFM),

although

efficient,

are

not

accurate

enough

for

the

purpose

of

design

and

control

of

industrial

units,

while

direct

numerical

simulations (DNS) starting from below the Kolmogorov scale and particle scale are currently

unrealistic for this purpose. Coarse-grid simulations with proper sub-grid scale (SGS) models

are expected to provide both reasonable accuracy and efficiency, but the closure of SGS models

has

been

long-lasting

controversial

issue.

In

this

presentation,

we

review

our

attempts

in

providing such a closure with specific stability condition for flows in CFB risers on the grid

scale,

that

is,

the

so-called

analytical

multi-scale

approach

and

its

later

improvements

and

extensions.

The

resultant

SGS

model

has

been

incorporated

into

commercial

software

and

applied in the simulation of industrial CFB risers with various sizes and bed materials. Further

extension of the model to mass transfer processes shows that superficial Reynolds number is

insufficient for correlating mass transfer rate as multi-scale heterogeneity is not reflected in this

criterion. The presentation will be concluded by prospects in multi-scale computational fluid

dynamics of multiphase systems.

1.

MULTI-SCALE

CHARACTERISTICS

OF

THE

HETEROGENEOUS

FLOW

STRUCTURES IN CFB RISERS

Gas-solid fluidization is typically aggregative (Wilhelm & Kwauk, 1948), and thereby displaying remarkable

multi-scale heterogeneity. In general, the heterogeneity can be identified on three scales with spatio-temporal

characteristics:

On the micro-scale, the difference between gas and solid phases presents the intrinsic heterogeneity in the

system, although their interfaces are normally clear-cut, they are by no means simple or regular. The solid

particles in natural or industrial processes are usually irregular in shape, for example, most catalyst particles

are porous, and complex contacting and non-contacting forces may present between these particles.

On the meso-scale, heterogeneity of solid particle distribution in CFB risers can be observed in the form of

dynamic

dense

clusters

immersed

in

dilute

“broth”,

which

deform,

interact,

split

and

merge

constantly.

Conventionally, they are also called dense and dilute “phases”, but their interface is not so distinct. In fact,

big controversy still remains on how to define a cluster, as they are in continuous deformation. Although the

maximum

gradient

of

solids

concentration

has

provided

reasonable

criterion

for

the

phase-interface

(Werther et al, 1996), the difficulty remains on how to measure local and transient solids concentration in

physical experiments and computer simulations. Anyway, such heterogeneity has definite and also strong

impact on the hydrodynamics and transport behaviors, as will be detailed in the next section.

On

the

macro-scale,

because

of

the

presence

of

boundaries

and

the

effect

of

inlets

and

outlets,

the

characteristics of meso-scale structures also vary considerably in space and in time. For CFB risers, we can

identify a top “dilute” zone and a bottom “dense” zone axially and a so-called core-annulus structure laterally.

The local mean solids concentrations in the bottom “dense” zone and in the annulus area are relatively higher,

but dense clusters also present in the top “dilute” zone and in the core area, though with relatively lower

probability.

Besides solids concentration distribution, which is most evident in observation and in measurements, the

flow velocities in the two phases are also highly heterogeneous. The slip velocity in dense clusters is much

lower than that in the dilute “broth”, and the difference between their gas velocities is even higher as the gas

flow always bypasses the cluster for less resistance.

It is rather difficult, in itself, to describe the heterogeneous flow structure embedded on each scale, and the

correlation among different scales is the focus of this complexity (Li et al., 2004). For example, net backflow

of solid particles can be observed in the annulus area due to meso-scale particle clustering and macro-scale

wall effects, while gas phase turbulence dominates and is also affected by the particle distribution in the core

area, with its energy dissipated by eddies and inter-particle collisions over a wide range of scales. All such

factors

add

complexity

to

the

flow

structure

of

CFB

risers,

and

bring

about

significant

errors

in

both

experiments and simulations if they are not properly accounted for, as illustrated in Fig. 1.

a) Experiment

b) Simulation

Fig.

1:

The

effect

of

heterogeneous

structure

on

the

results

of

experiment

and

simulation

in

gas-solid

flow:

(a)

Measuring

the

same

structure

with

different

probes

gives

different

results

(Reh

&

Li,

1991);

(b)

Simulating

the

same

system

by

different

models

gives

different

results

(air-FCC

system

in

the

bottom

section

of

semi-industrial

turbulent

fluidized bed, I.D=0.71m, height=16m, U
g
=0.945m/s, d
p
=7.5×10
-5
m, ρ
p
=1503kg/m
3
).

2.

THE

CHALLENGE

THEREBY

PROPOSED

FOR

SIMULATIONS

OF

CFB

RISER

FLOWS

Computer capacity has been increasing dramatically, while the development of computation capability is

comparatively slow. Then, it is natural to ask: what is the reason for such a difference? Our belief is that the

meso-scale heterogeneity and the interdependence between scales described above present a grand challenge

to the development of computer simulation, that is, how to balance between the two ends of computational

accuracy and efficiency? Two approaches standing for high accuracy or high efficiency are usually referred

to in literature, i.e., the direct numerical simulations (DNS) for accuracy and the coarse grid simulations for

efficiency. In what follows we will discuss these two approaches with regard to CFB risers.

2.1 How expensive is direct numerical simulation?

At

present,

theoretically

rigorous

simulation

of

gas-solid

flow

should

go

down

below

the

scale

of

solid

particles and that of the dissipative eddies in the turbulent gas phase, which is typically on the orders of

microns to millimeters. On such scales, the Navier-Stokes equation for fluid flow can be applied directly, and

the

particles

can

be

treated

individually

with

their interactions

described

in

classical

Newton

mechanics.

Crossed

Probe

Parallel

Probe

Although such a description requires details of particle-particle interactions as inputs, which are not easily

obtained in experiments, DNS is generally believed to be able to predict the hydrodynamics of well-defined

systems reasonably.

However, the computational cost involved in DNS is tremendous. In fact, to our knowledge, the largest DNS

of

gas-solid

suspension

to

date

involves

only

thousands

of

particles

(Ma

et

al.,

2006),

and

for

computationally

less

demanding

liquid-solid

systems,

the

number

is

still

limited

to

tens

of

thousands

(Nguyen

and

Ladd,

2005),

while

for

industrial

units

with

dimensions

in

meters

or

even

ten

meters,

the

number of particles are in the range of 10
10
~10
15

and the number of numerical elements needed would reach

10
12
~10
20
.

In

terms

of

temporal

evolution,

the

time

step

of

the

DNS

simulations

are

typically

finer

than

microseconds

and

the

computational

time

for

one

step

can

hardly

reach

milliseconds

even

for

well

parallelized code on state-of-the-art high performance computing (HPC) systems, therefore, an reasonable

estimate is “days (computational) for seconds (physical)”. Further development of HPC technology is likely

to expand the size of the simulated systems dramatically, but reducing the ratio of computational to physical

time will be much more difficult because of the strong barriers in the frequency of chips. In

short,

we

may

say

that

conventional

DNS

of

industrial

CFB

units

is

yet

impossible

or

at

least

not

economical

in

the

foreseeable

future,

unless

certain

breakthrough

specially

designed

for

parallelization

can

be

made

in

both

software and hardware.

2.2 How accurate is coarse grid simulations?

For reasonable computational cost and timely response, most practical simulations on industrial units have

used two-fluid model (TFM) with coarse grids on the scale of several millimeters to centimeters. However,

as reported by many researchers (Andrews IV et al., 2005; J iradilok et al., 2006; Lu et al., 2005; Qi et al.,

2007; Qi et al., 2000; Sundaresan, 2000; Yang et al., 2003a, 2003b), the accuracy of such simulations is not

satisfactory.

For

example,

the

solids

circulating

rates

are

significantly

over-predicted

and

the

meso-scale

heterogeneity is considerably smoothed, as discussed in the literature (Yang et al., 2003a).

The

accuracy

of

numerical

simulation

depends

on

the

rationality

of

the

physical

model,

the

numerical

scheme and the grid size used. Assuming that a TFM is reasonable on the scale its averaging procedures are

taken, its best solutions can be approached when the grid size is much smaller than this scale, since a smooth

and linear change can usually be secured then. When coarser grids are used, the numerical solution will

gradually

deviate

from

the

analytical

solution

of

the

model

and

the

physical

picture,

at

rates

largely

dependent

on

the

nature

of

the

model

and

the

system

simulated.

When

significant

sub-grid

scale

(SGS)

heterogeneity displays in the system, the linear and smooth variation of the flow variable assumed in the

numerical solution loses completely, so that the discrepancy between coarse-grid simulations and the picture

really described by TFM could be very large, as reported by Sundaresan (2000) and shown in Fig. 2.

The calculation of drag coefficient in TFM can serve as a good example where correlations from seemingly

uniform

suspensions

or

fixed

beds

(Wen

&

Yu,

1966;

Ergun,

1952)

are

routinely

used.

As

previously

estimated (Ge, 1998; Li, 2000; Yang et al., 2003b), these correlations may give predictions even with wrong

order of magnitude if typical cluster-broth two-phase structures present under the grid scale. This effect can

be

demonstrated

more

precisely

by

Fig.

for

suspension

of

mono-sized

2D

particles

under

different

configurations, where the slip velocity induced by a given pressure drop with constant solids concentration is

obtained from DNS using macro-scale particle methods (Ma et al., 2006; 2007) with Lagrangian descriptions

for both particles and fluid. The naturally developed heterogeneous suspension, though not as significant as

in real gas-solid systems owing to the limitation of the number of particles, has quite different slip velocities

from that for fixed hexagonal (most uniform)

suspension and the ratio of the highest to the lowest drag

coefficient

is

about

6.

The

simulation

also

suggests

that

the

form

of

the

heterogeneity,

for

example,

the

orientation

of

the

voidage

gradient

relative

to

the

fluid

flow,

have

great

influence

on

the

resistance

characteristics of the suspension. Therefore, mean voidage and slip velocity alone are insufficient to define

the mean drag coefficient within a grid cell (Xu et al., 2007), and the structure inside the grid cells has to be

considered.

(a) 16×64

(b) 32×128

(c) 64×256

(d) 200×800

Fig. 2: Snapshots of solids distribution in a periodic domain simulated by using TFM with different numbers of grids.

Domain

size=15mm×60mm.

Time

steps=2.0×10
-4
s.

Wen

&

Yu’s

relation

and

algebraic

model

are

adopted

for

the

calculation

of

drag

coefficient

and

granular

temperature,

respectively.

Restitution

coefficient

e
p
=0.9.

Fluent®6.2

is

used

for

simulation.

The

Second

Order

Upwind

and

Quick

schemes

are

used

for

discretization

of

the

momentum

equations

and

volume

fraction,

respectively.

The

simulation

initiates

from

uniform

state

with

zero

velocities

for

gas

and

solids

except

in

certain

grids

with

small

perturbation.

Physical

parameters:

ρ
p
=1500

kg/m
3
,

d
p
=75

μm,

ρ
g
=1.3

kg/m
3
, μ
g
=1.8×10
-5
kg/(m·s). Average solids volume fraction remains 0.05. With increasing number of grids from 16×64

in Fig. 2a to 200×800 in Fig.2d, the structural details revealed by the numerical solution improve.

Fig. 3: Temporal variation of drag coefficient for a suspension of 3264 solid particles in a domain of 7.26mm×29.1mm

simulated

with

macro-scale

particle

modeling

(Ma

et

al.,

2006).

Initial

velocities

of

the

particles

are

assigned

with

random

directions

but

equal

magnitude

(2.68×10
-2
m/s).

Physical

parameters:

ρ
p
=1225

kg/m
3
,

d
p
=140

μm,

ρ
g
=1.225

kg/m
3
, μ
g
=1.8 kg/(m⋅s). The smoothing length is 2.8×10
-5
m, the gas particle diameter is 8.4×10
-6
m. As the voidages and

average

drag

forces

are

constant,

but

the

average

slip

velocity

changes

significantly,

the

drag

coefficients

are

very

different when different flow structures present. a) Steady flow around an array of fixed particles with equal neighbor

distance, the averaged axial slip velocity is 0.18 m/s, the corresponding drag coefficient is 23.56; b) Enlargement of a

local

part

of

the

flow

field

in

“a”

showing

the

simulated

details;

c)

snapshot

of

the

flow

structure

under

free

suspension,

the

averaged

axial

slip

velocity

is

0.336

m/s,

the

corresponding

drag

coefficient

is

5.31.

d)

Another

snapshot of the flow structure, the averaged axial slip velocity is 0.13m/s, the corresponding drag coefficient is 31.87.

The

difference

in

slip

velocity

and

drag

coefficient

under

the

same

voidage

and

drag

force

are

caused

by

the

heterogeneous structures in the system.

The SGS structure may further perplex the heat/mass transfer and reaction behavior of a CFB reactor. As a

reason, the transport and reaction processes involve more information of concentrations and velocities in

local space, which cover a wider, but not fully resolved, range of scales, so that the same coarse-grid flow

behavior may lead to different performances of overall reactions due to the variation of structures. Therefore,

even though the coarse-grid flow field can be well predicted, significant errors will still set in if transfer rates

are calculated on the basis of uniform solid distribution within the grid cells. We will return to this topic in

Section 4.

In summary, DNS or coarse grid simulation in its own right can only meet one end of our requirement for

simulation with accuracy or efficiency. To cope with the ever-increasing demand from industries for better

design

and

control

of

CFB

units,

more

suitable

simulation

approaches

have

to

balance

between

the

computational cost of DNS and the inaccuracy of coarse-grid simulations. Fine-grid

TFM and coarse-grid

simulations with SGS models present two mainstream approaches in this respect. The former focuses more on

the reduction of grid sizes while the latter focuses more on the dependence of particle-fluid interaction on

structures within grids.

3. THE APPROACHES TO MEET THE CHALLENGE

3.1 Fine-grid TFM

The

seemingly

most

straightforward

approach

is

to

use

set

of

high-resolution

fine

grids

for

TFM

simulations, as is the case of Zhang and VanderHeyden (2001). Likewise, as Agrawal et al. (2001) have

shown in simulations of periodic flow domains, with decreasing grid size, more and more details of the flow

field appear and the overall slip velocity also changes significantly. For Geldart A particles, a plateau can be

reached finally, which gives the grid-size independent numerical solution to the two-fluid model. In some

cases, for instance as shown in Fig. 4, this approach may give results quantitatively comparable with DNS

results, though their agreement cannot be counted on too much as Wen & Yu’s drag correction function has

not been validated for cylindrical particles. Owing to the sensitivity of dynamical flow behavior to initial

conditions and numerical errors, the detailed flow pattern and transient field variables are, as expected, not

comparable quantitatively.

The

upper

limit

of

the

fine-grid

size

is

roughly

of

the

same

order

of

mean

particle

spacing

and

the

corresponding

time

step

reported

in

the

literature

is

in

the

range

of

10~100

microseconds,

so

the

computational cost of fine grid simulations can be much lower than that of DNS. In this regard, industrial

applications can possibly be achieved under some conditions, provided that algorithms with good parallelism

can

be

implemented

on

modern

HPC

systems

featuring

massive

parallel

processing.

However,

the

best

results

of

fine-grid

simulations

can

only

approach

the

theoretical

solution

of

TFM,

which,

in

itself,

has

essential limitations and waits for substantial improvements and extensions.

In more details, the momentum equation for the gas phase is an averaging of the Navier-Stokes equation over

a spatial and/or temporal domain caved by many solid particles, which inevitably contains the second order

velocity correlation term (u´u´), similar to the Reynolds stress term in single-phase turbulence (u is the gas

velocity and the prime denotes its fluctuations). But the composition of this term is more complicated since

the

presence

of

solids

can

either

enhance

or

suppress

gas

turbulence

and

even

induce

covariance

of

gas

velocity in the absence of turbulence, though both in form of (u´u´) (Liu, 1993). In fact, the closure of these

terms could be more difficult and controversial than that for single-phase turbulence.

On

the

other

hand,

the

solid

phase

is

treated

as

continuum

of

granular

gas

interpenetrating

with

the

continuum of real gas, that is, the so-called “pseudo-fluid” description following the N-S equation. However,

the kinetic theory of this granular “gas”, which provides the constitutive laws to the continuum stress, is

more

complicated

than

that

of

real

gas.

For

instance,

the

solids

dissipate

mechanical

energy

through

collisions and their slippage with the surrounding gas, while real gas molecules conserve mechanical energy

during

collisions

and

free

flight.

Further,

gas-solid

interactions

may

form

long-range

hydrodynamic

correlation between solid particles that decays very slowly, so that the molecular chaos assumption employed

in

the

derivation

of

the

classical

Boltzmann

equation

may

become

invalid.

Moreover,

recent

DNS

have

shown (Ma et al., 2006) that the flow velocities of the solids are of the same magnitude or even lower than

their

fluctuation

velocities,

implying

highly

non-equilibrium

flow;

and

their

thermal

velocities

are

anisotropic so that a second order tensor is not sufficient to describe its stress properties. These features can

result

in

effective

transport

properties

quite

different

from

existent

theoretical

predictions

with

quasi-equilibrium

assumptions.

The

solids

can

introduce

further

complexities

if

wide

size

distribution,

irregular shape (for example, deformable fibers) and cohesion between particles have to be considered.

Fig. 4: Time variation of axial slip velocities obtained by different simulation approaches (macro-scale particle methods

(MaPM;

Ma

et

al.,

2006)

and

two-fluid

model

(TFM))

with

characteristic

snapshots

of

solids

distribution.

Physical

parameters:

ρ
p
=160.49

kg/m
3
,

d
p
=109

μm

for

hollow

glass

beads,

and

ρ
g
=1.225

kg/m
3
,

μ
g
=1.8×10
-5

kg/(m⋅s)

for

air

under

ambient

conditions.

(a)

domain

size

is

(7.72mm×7.68mm),

average

solids

volume

fraction

is

0.24.

MaPM:

initially

389

solid

particles

are

uniformly

distributed

in

the

domain

with

velocities

of

random

directions

but

equal

magnitude

(0.0268

m/s);

the

smoothing

length

is

2.181×10
-5
m;

the

gas

particle

diameter

is

6.54×10
-6
m,

and

the

solid/gas particle diameter ratio is 33; TFM: Fluent® 6.2 is used for the simulation with double-periodic boundaries,

and the number of grids is 40×40; time step is set to be 0.1ms; the algebraic form of the kinetic theory of granular flow

is

adopted

for

closure

of

the

granular

temperature;

the

restitution

coefficient

(e
p
)

is

set

to

be

0.8;

as

the

MaPM

simulation is undertaken for 2D disks, the drag coefficient for single cylinders is used in the TFM simulation which is

a) 7.72×7.68mm
MaPM

TFM

b) 3.9×61.4mm

correlated

from

Tritton

(1959,

1977),

i.e.,

C
d0
=0.67245+280.8898/(1.0+26.63697Re
0.6565
)

(Re≤100)

and

C
d0
≈1.0

(Re>100); owing to the lack of experimental data for cylinders, the form of Wen & Yu correction for particle clusters is

employed,

i.e.,

f(ε
g
)=ε
g
-2.65
,

to

model

the

effective

drag

correction

in

swarm

of

cylinders.

Second

order

upwind

and

QUICK schemes are used for discretization over momentum equations and volume fraction, respectively. The simulation

initiates

from

uniform

suspension

with

zero

velocities

for

gas

and

solids,

small

domain

in

center

having

non-zero

initial velocities is used for perturbation. (b) domain size is (3.9mm×61.4mm), average solids volume fraction is 0.16.

MaPM:

1024

solid

particles;

TFM:

number

of

grids=30×120,

other

simulation

settings

are

the

same

with

those

for

case

(a).

In

general,

the

axial

slip

velocities

predicted

by

these

two

approaches

differ

from

each

other

with

relative

errors

of

34%

and

5.6%

for

cases

(a)

and

(b),

respectively,

though

the

details

of

their

dynamical

behavior

are

not

consistent. This is an indication that fine grid simulations may give acceptable results for engineering calculations but

further validation is still needed.

It should be noted further, as a continuum description, that TFM can be numerically solved with arbitrary

fine grids. The numerical error will certainly decrease before round-off errors dominate. But the physical

error of the model remains unchanged and the resolution of the model is still on a spatio-temporal scale large

enough

to

host

many

particles

and

slow

enough

to

smooth

statistical

fluctuation,

where

the

continuum

description is valid. In addition, because of the multi-scale nature of the heterogeneity in gas-solid systems

and the fact that solid particles are much larger than molecules, in many cases, the continuum scale overlaps

with the scale of meso-scale heterogeneity, which presents a more complicated situation for the formulation

of constitutive laws. With all these difficulties, it seems necessary to explore other possibilities of CFB riser

simulation when further efforts are continued on fine-grid simulations.

3.2 Coarse-grid simulation with sub-element-scale models

If a continuum model can be established on a scale with characteristic meso-scale heterogeneity directly,

smooth

variation

of

the model

variables

can

be

reassumed

on a

relatively

larger

scale

around

which

the

deterioration

of

accuracy

with

increasing

grid

size

is

not

significant

and

coarse-grid

simulations

can

be

justified. In fact, the name “SGS models”, though popularly used, is not very reasonable for such continuum

models, since the grid size for these models should, in principle, smaller than the scale the model based on,

and there is no limit to use finer grids. The scale of the elements described by the model is actually more

characteristic and intrinsic. Therefore, we have coined the name “sub-element-scale (SES) models” for such

models. Anyway, this is a practical approach to improve the accuracy of coarse-grid simulations for practical

purpose.

Most SES models recognize clusters as a key factor to the closure of TFM. For example, Arastoopour and

Gidaspow (1979) found it necessary to adjust the particle diameter for obtaining correct axial distribution of

solids. O’brien and Syamlal (1993), Wang and Li (2004), Heynderickx et al. (2004) and Cruz et al (2006)

suggested modified drag correlations based on the effects of clusters, while Gu and Chen (1998) and Lu et al

(2005) proposed their cluster-based approaches, respectively, to simulate CFB risers.

In addition to using the concept of cluster directly, some studies tend to extract more accurate inter-phase

drag

force

and

particulate

phase

stresses

for

TFM

from

microscopic

simulation

methods

such

as

lattice

Boltzmann method (van der Hoef et al., 2006), particle method (Ma et al., 2006) and DNS (Pan et al., 2002),

or from the fine-grid TFM methods (Agrawal et al., 2001; Andrews IV et al., 2005; Igci et al., 2006; De

Wilde, 2005; Zhang and Vanderheyden, 2002).

No matter how the SES model is established, a critical issue is to close the equation set with an expanded

variable set. Regressing correlations between these variables, either from experimental work or simulation

results, may serve as a practical approach but a physical explanation to these correlations and hence their

applicability or generality are not easily found. The so-called analytical multi-scale approach (Li & Kwauk,

2003; Li et al., 2004; Ge et al., 2007) reviewed in the following presents an attempt to deal with the closure

problem another way around.

4. THE

ANALYTICAL

MULTI-SCALE APPROACH

PROVIDING

CLOSURE

TO

THE

SES MODELS

In analytical multi-scale approach, instead of introducing explicit expressions, variational criteria are applied

on the variable set which provides a closure to the model. Different from most variational approaches (ref.

Finlayson, 1972), where the equations are all known but some of them are then presented equivalently by

variational

criteria,

the

variational

criterion

here

is

an

natural

expression

of

the

stability

condition

of

dynamical

SES

structures,

or

the

“purpose”

of

their

collective

self-organization,

whereas

the

physical

meaning of its equivalent equation(s), if exist(s), is/are not so apparent. According to Li & Kwauk (2003),

seeking

the

dominant

mechanisms

shaping

SGS

structures

and

trying

to

express

them

as

extremum

tendencies

provides

general

clue

to

establishing

the

stability

condition,

and

the

key

notion

is

the

compromise

between

these

dominant

mechanisms,

which

is

mathematically

expressed

as

mutually

constrained extremum.

This idea is well presented by, and actually stemmed from the energy minimization multi- scale (EMMS)

model (Li, 1987; Li & Kwauk, 1994) for CFB risers. The original model has based on a rather simplified

physical picture. The flow was considered one-dimensional, fully developed and free of wall effects. The

suspension

was

assumed

to

separate

distinctly

into

particle-laden

mixture

called

the

dense

“phase”

(denoted

by

the

subscript

“c”)

and

fluid-dominated

mixture

called

the

dilute

“phase”

(denoted

by

the

subscript “l”). The flow was thought to be uniform and steady within each “phase”, which was then uniquely

specified

by

particle

and

fluid

velocities

(U
p

and

U
f
),

and

voidages

(ε)

in

each

phase,

together

with

the

volume fraction of the dense “phase” (f) and its “diameter” (l) since it was assumed to occur as spherical

clusters.

Six dynamical equations are introduced in the model. Firstly, the effective weight of all particles in the dilute

“phase” is balanced by the drag of fluid. Secondly, the effective weight of particles in the dense “phase” is

partially supported by the fluid flow inside, and the rest is supported by the bypassing dilute “phase” fluid

flow. Thirdly, the pressure drop in the dense “phase” is balanced by that in the dilute “phase” plus that over

the dilute-to-dense “inter-phase”. Finally, the continuity of the fluid and the solid phases and a semi-empiric

correlation for the cluster diameter (l) provide three other equations.

To

close

the

model,

stability

condition,

minimization

of

the

mass-specific

energy

consumption

for

suspending

and

transporting

particles

(N
st
→min),

is

proposed

to

express

the

compromise

between

the

tendency

of

the

fluid

to

pass

through

the

particle

layer

with

least

resistance,

that

is

W
st
→min,

and

the

tendency of the particle to maintain least gravitational potential, that is ε

→min (Li, 2000; Ge & Li, 2002),

which physically results in the aggregation of both phases to display a multi-scale heterogeneous structure.

Such a compromise has been verified in micro-scale simulations using pseudo-particle modeling (Li et al.,

2004; Zhang et al., 2005).

The EMMS model can be directly applied on the equipment scale if boundary effects are negligible. Maybe,

its theoretical rationality and significance has been best demonstrated by its ability to provide a physical

mapping of fluidization regimes which are partitioned by different saltations and bifurcations (Li et al., 1998;

Ge & Li, 2002). Especially, it has given new insight to the long-lasting controversy about “choking” in CFB

risers

(Ge

&

Li,

2002),

that

is,

the

highly

heterogeneous

regime

of

“fast

fluidization”

and

the

nearly

homogeneous regime of “dilute transport” may have the same N
st

under certain pairs of U
g

and G
s
, as shown

in Fig. 5 by the state with (U
g
=1.5m/s, G
s
=10.5kg/m
2
s) for an air-FCC system. Thus, the “choking” transition

actually

represents

jump

at

these

bi-stable

states,

and

both

stable

branches

satisfy

the

minimum

requirement of N
st

that is denoted by the green and red points near the two ends of the dash-dot line. The

relevant calculation is now available on the Internet (http://pevrc.ipe.ac.cn/emms/emmsmodel.php3). Note

that

this

important

phenomenon

of

the

nonlinearity

and

multiplicity

in

particle-fluid

flows

was

hardly

captured by using TFM until recently by using an EMMS-based multiscale

CFD approach (Wang et al.,

2007c), which will be referred to in section 5.

To

cope

with

TFM

simulation

and

to

describe

the

lateral

and

axial

flow

distributions

in

CFB

risers,

the

acceleration-related

effects neglected in the original

EMMS

model

have

to

be

considered.

The

acceleration

effects

were

first

considered

in

the context of the EMMS model

by

Xu

(1996)

in

his

attempt

to

describe the transitional section

in CFB risers. Later on identical

accelerations

were

assumed

for

both dense and dilute phases in

the revised EMMS model by Ge

and

Li

(2002).

Based

on

these

studies,

Cheng

et

al.

(2005)

introduced

different

accelerations

for

dense

and

dilute

phase

particles

respectively,

which

link

the

particle

velocities

on

different

riser heights. All these attempts pave the way to integrate the EMMS model into TFM, and to help realize

three-dimensional prediction of flow distributions.

5. SUB-GRID SCALE MODEL BASED ON THE EMMS MODEL

For the simulation of dynamic processes or equipments with complex geometries, the EMMS model has to

be incorporated into the framework of TFM. In the first attempt made by Yang et al. (2003a), TFM is used to

provide local velocities as well as local mean voidage in each grid to the EMMS model, which then returns

its correction of the inter-phase drag coefficient to TFM. A transient local acceleration was allowed in the

model,

but

no

difference

between

the

dense

and

the

dilute

“phases”

was

considered

then.

To

facilitate

application,

user-defined-function

(UDF)

interface

has

been

developed

to

dock

with

commercial

CFD

software.

Such

integration

has

been

demonstrated

to

improve

the

accuracy

of

TFM,

in

terms

of

solids

concentration, solids circulation rate and the resolution for multi-scale heterogeneities (Yang et al, 2003a,

2003b, 2004). Later development along this direction is summarized in the following subsections.

5.1 Incorporation of the EMMS model and TFM on sub-grid level

Recent exploring the physics of the EMMS model indicated that minimization of N
st

is only realized on

meso- or macro- scale, while on micro- or local scale, N
st

manifests no extremum tendency but fluctuates

greatly with respect to time and space (Zhang et al., 2005). Such a concept helps raise an extended EMMS

model and its coupling scheme named EMMS/Matrix (Wang & Li, 2007). As shown in Fig. 6, for operating

conditions given, TFM assumes uniform distribution at the grid level and then provides mean voidage and

velocities

in

each

grid

to

feed

the

extended

EMMS

model.

The

extended

EMMS

model

defines

three

sub-grid phases, i.e. the dense phase, the dilute phase and the meso-scale interphase, and their generalized

acceleration terms in relation to gas-solid inertial difference. The time-mean meso-scale structure therein is

characterized through minimization of N
st

under macro-scale operating conditions while its variation in terms

Fig.

5:

Variation

of

energy

consumption

for

suspending

and

transporting

particles

N
st

with

voidage

in

clusters

ε
c

for

different

solids

flux

G
s

(U
g
=1.5m/s;

Air-FCC:

d
p
=54

μm,

ρ
p
=930

kg/m
3
;

ε
max
=0.9997,

ε
mf
=0.5).

Solutions

are

indicated

by

the

lowest

points

on

the

curves.

At

choking

point

(G
s
≈10.5kg/m
2
s), two solutions could coexist (Figure generally adapted from

Wang

et

al.,

(2007d)

and

the

schematic

insets

taken

from

Wang

et

al.,

(2007c)).
of formation, fluctuation and dissolution depends on dynamical equations. In this manner the EMMS/Matrix

scheme allows bottom-up integration between the EMMS model and TFM. The EMMS-featured structure

parameters such as U
p
, U
f
, U
pc
, U
fc
, l, ε
c

etc. as well as inertial terms and drag coefficient can hence be

determined in each CFD grid, which paves the way for developing a sub-grid multiscale mass transfer model

as will be discussed in the following section (Dong et al., 2007).

By using EMMS/Matrix, for a specific system with given physical properties, the drag-coefficient correction

for the presence of neighboring particles depends not only on local velocities and local voidage but also on

global

operating

conditions

of

gas

and

solid

flow

rates.

Therefore,

it

is

hard

to

correlate

this

structural

dependency exclusively as a function of voidage as ever before. In practice, such a structure-dependent drag

coefficient is usually lower than the value of widely used relations, such as of Ergun (1952) or Wen and Yu

(1966), and may cover a range of variation by several orders of magnitude.

As

mentioned

in

section

4,

this

EMMS-based

CFD

approach

was

used

to

simulate

the

“choking”

phenomenon of circulating fluidized beds (Wang et al., 2007c). As shown in Fig. 7, the bell-shaped area

marking the choking transition was reproduced, over which the solids flux equals the saturation carrying

capacity and the dense fluidization coexists with the dilute transport. Near the critical point, which is the

summit of the bell-shaped area, simulation shows that the fluctuation of solids volume fraction reaches a

maximum, in a manner analogous to what is found in the critical phenomenon of vapor-liquid equilibrium

system. The choking phenomenon demarcates the transition between the pneumatic transport and the dense

fluidization, and hence is of great importance to the design and operation of CFB reactors. Accordingly,

whether or not a CFD simulation can correctly reproduce this phenomenon could be viewed as a touchstone

for the model used. However, such a fact had been long ignored by simulation practitioners. The long-lasting

disputes

about

the

definition

of

choking

could

be

responsible

for

this

ignorance

in

part,

while

the

most

important reason, in our opinion, should be attributed to the neglect of flow structure in most of CFD models.

This extended version of EMMS-based CFD approach has been used to simulate the flow behavior of an

industrial MIP reactor (Lu et al., 2006; Lu et al., 2007). The MIP process developed by SINOPEC (Xu et al.,

2001) is distinguished from conventional FCC process by an enlarged reaction zone in the middle of the riser

tube, to favor the reaction for producing iso-paraffins. As shown in Fig. 8, under its operating conditions,

choking occurs in the second reaction zone, in which the solid concentration increases almost linearly with

the increase of imposed pressure drop but the solids flux remains virtually unchanged. At the same time, the

other two slim sections operate under the condition of dilute transport and undergo little change of solids

holdup. Once the dense fluidized state occupies the entire space of the enlarged zone, the increase of its solid

concentration slows down although the relevant solid flux curve rises. At the same time, the outlet tube is

gradually

filled

with

catalyst

particles,

entering

the

dense

fluidized

state,

and

the

primary

section

still

operates under the dilute transport. From the analysis above, it is evident that a MIP reactor may operate

synchronously

under

multiple

flow

regimes.

Quantifying

this

complex

flow

behavior

in

fact

helps

the

relevant design, and then troubleshoots its operation and finally be expected to optimize the MIP refinery

process.

Fig. 6: Incorporating the EMMS model into two-fluid models (Adapted from Wang et al., 2007c)

5.2 Implicit cluster size correlation for the EMMS model

Despite all these extensions and improvements, the cluster diameter correlation remained a major source of

uncertainty in the EMMS model, it also restricts the incorporation of the model into the TFM framework for

cases

with

solids

flow

in

gravitational

direction,

such

as

downer.

To

remove

these

deficiencies, Wang et al. (2007a)

has recently made it implicit by

analyzing

the

fluctuation

characteristics

of

solid

concentration in CFB risers with

stochastic

geometry

approach

of

doubly

stochastic

Poisson

processes.

The

added

mass

effect

is

related

to

the

accelerations

in

the

dilute

and

dense “phases”, which provides

an

alternative

closure

to

the

extended

model.

cluster

diameter

can

still

be

derived

from the model variable but it is

no longer an independent one. It

is

interesting

to

note

that,

although the calculated value of

cluster diameter is still sensitive to different criteria partitioning the dense and dilute phases, the actual flow

structure

changes

very

little,

suggesting

that

the

model

has

reflected

the

essential

characteristics

of

the

meso-scale heterogeneity in the system.

Fig.

7:

“Choking”

phenomenon

in

an

air-FCC

particle

CFB

system

reproduced

by

EMMS-based

CFD.

The

abscissa

variable

ΔP
imp

refers

to

the

total

imposed

pressure drop across the riser. The snapshots of voidage

profile

refer

to

the

transition

from

the

dilute

transport

(a), the choking transition with different solids inventory

in

the

riser

(b)

and

(c),

to

the

dense

fluidization

(d)

(Wang et al., 2007c).

Fig.

8:

“Choking”

in

an

industrial

MIP

reactor

is

reproduced by the EMMS-based CFD. The snapshots of

voidage

profile

refer

to

the

transition

from

dilute

transport,

choking

transition

with

different

solids

inventory

in

the

riser,

to

dense

fluidization

(Lu

et

al.,

2006).

The

solid

concentration

is

calculated

from

the

simulated pressure drop.

Fig. 9: Simulation of S-shaped axial voidage profiles (G
s
=150kg⋅m
-2
s
-1
) and

the

choking

phenomenon

in

0.09m

inner

diameter

and

7.2m

height

riser:

U
g
=4m/s, d
p
=1.0×10
-4
m, ρ
p
=2650kg/m
3
.

The approach is now capable of simulating both systems with Geldart A or B particles (Wang et al., 2007a)

and the flow structures in dense fluidized beds (Wang et al., 2007b). It is shown that the experimentally

found

S-shaped

axial

voidage

profiles

and

the

choking

phenomenon

can

be

well

predicted

(Fig.

9).

The

computed one-dimensional slip velocities decrease towards the top of the risers and increase with decreasing

cross-sectional

averaged

voidages.

The

experimentally

found dependence

of

the

root

mean

square

of

the

solid concentration on its mean value at a given position is also well predicted, as shown in Fig. 10. The

dynamical flow pattern featured by significant multi-scale heterogeneity is reasonably reproduced, as show

in Fig. 11.

6. FURTHER EXTENSIONS OF THE EMMS MODEL TO RELATED PROBLEMS

The EMMS-based sub-grid scale model has recently been extended to predict mass transfer and reaction

behavior in CFB reactors (Dong et al., 2007a, 2007b). With the two-phase structures calculated from the

EMMS/Matrix model (Wang and Li, 2007), we further distinguish the mixture concentration in the dense

phase from that in the dilute phase at the sub-grid level. In this manner, the conventional governing equations

used for mixture concentrations are replaced by the sub-grid mass conservation equations for the dense and

the dilute phases respectively. The relevant model named EMMS/Mass was integrated into CFD computation.

A testing case accounting for sublimation of naphthalene is presented to demonstrate the characters of the

model, showing that the conventionally used Reynolds number is not adequate to correlate the structural

effects for mass transfer.

It was well known, as shown in Fig. 12(a), that the overall Sherwood number reported in the literature is

scattered in a wide range when correlated as a function of Re, not only for different researchers but also for

the same source of data. For the case of Subbarao and Gambhir (2002), for example, if their data are drawn

Fig. 10: The computed standard deviation of solid concentration

as a function of local mean solid concentration at various heights

in

large-scale

turbulent

fluidized

bed

(inner

diameter

0.71m,

height

16m,

U
g
=0.945m/s,

d
p
=7.5×10
-5
m,

ρ
p
=1503kg/m
3
)

and

comparison

with

the

experimental

data

of

Issangya

(1998)

(U
g
=0.69m/s,

d
p
=7.0×10
-5
m,

ρ
p
=1600kg/m
3
)

and

Bi

and

Su

(2001)

(The

operating

condition

and

particle

properties

not

given): The comparison is based on the conclusion that standard

deviation of solid concentration is a function of local mean solid

concentration only.

t=10s

t=15s

t=20s

Fig.

11:

Snapshots

of

solid

concentration

distribution

in

pilot

scale

CFB

riser

as

simulated by

the

EMMS/CFD approach

(Wang

et

al.,

2007b),

particle

density=1420kg/m3,

particle

diameter=0.18mm, riser diameter=0.3048m, riser

height=16.5m,

superficial

gas

velocity=4.28m/s,

in

conventional

way

as

function

of

Reynolds

number,

the

corresponding

Sherwood

number

will

be

scattered in a wide range of sub-area 1 in Fig. 12(a). However, when the Sherwood number is redrawn as a

function of both U
g

and G
s
, as shown in Fig. 12(b), the EMMS/Mass predictions (the colorful surface) are in

good agreement with Subbarao and Gambhir’s experimental data (red dots).

Fig.

12:

Comparison

of

overall

Sherwood

number

between

this

work

and

the

literature

data.

a):

conventional

Sh-Re

curve of (1) Subbarao and Gambhir (2002); (2) Kettenring and Manderfield (1950); (3) Resnick and White (1949); (4)

Venderbosch

et

al.

(1999);

(5)

Gunn

(1978);

(6)

Van

der

Ham

et

al

(1991);

(7)

Dry

et

al

(1987);

(8)

Dry

and

White

(1992); b): EMMS/Mass predicted surface of Sh as a function of U
g

and G
s

and its comparison with the experimental

data for the case of Subbarao and Gambhir (2002). Red solid dots are taken from one group of the data (ρ
p
=2600 kg/m
3
,

d
p
=196 μm).

Fig.

13:

Snapshots

of

dimensionless

ozone

concentration

at

time

of

30s

and

related

time-averaged

radial

profiles

at

different

heights

(experiment:

Ouyang

et

al.,

(1995);

U
g
=3.8

m/s,

G
s
=106

kg/m
2
s,

k
r
=57.21

m
3
(O
3
)/m
3

(catalyst)s).

a)

EMMS/Matrix

for

flow

and

EMMS/Mass

for

mass

transfer;

b)

only

flow

structure

is

considered

through

a)

Conventional

correlation

by

Sh

vs.

Re

showing disparity between different sources

of data and poor dependence of Sh on Re

b)

EMMS/Mass

description

of

Sh

showing

fair

agreement

between

model

and

experimental data

a)

Multi-scale

models

for

both hydrodynamics and

mass transfer

b)

Multi-scale

model

only

for hydrodynamics

c)

Conventional

average

models

for

both

hydrodynamics

and

mass transfer

EMMS/Matrix drag coefficient, mass transfer model is the conventional; c) conventional CFD model for both flow and

mass transfer without structural consideration. (Color spectrum is in log scale)

These results show that Re

is

insufficient

for

correlating

Sh

in

heterogeneous

structures

of

fluidized

beds,

which

is

the

reason

why

the

conventional

mass-transfer

experimental

results

could

not

be unified

in

Sh∼Re

diagram. Further work is needed in this aspect.

Fig. 13 gives further comparison between three simulating results of different approaches and experimental

data for an ozone decomposition experiment (Ouyang et al., 1995). While using the same experimental data,

three

subfigures

used

different

simulating

models:

(a)

featuring

EMMS/Mass

for

mass

transfer

and

EMMS/Matrix for flow, (b) featuring EMMS/Matrix for flow but conventional model for mass transfer, and

(c) with conventional models for both flow and mass transfer. It is indicated that the conventional model

without

considering

the

structural

effects

gives

the

worst

results,

considering

the

effect

of

structures

on

hydrodynamics gives better results, and the best fit to experimental results can be obtained only when the

structural effects on both flow and mass transfer are taken into account.

7. CONCLUSIONS

Multiscale

flow

structure

inherent

in

gas-solid

risers

presents

grand

challenge

to

CFD

simulation

of

industrial

scale

CFB

reactors.

Coarse-grid

simulations

using

traditional

two-fluid

models

(TFM)

are

not

accurate

enough

owing

to

the

ignorance

of

structures

at

sub-element

scale

(SES,

conventionally

called

sub-grid-scale or SGS) structures, while direct numerical simulations (DNS) starting from below the lowest

dissipative scales are currently impractical at least for industrial applications. Coarse-grid simulations with

appropriate SGS models are expected to reconcile the contradiction between accuracy and efficiency, but

closure of the model with an expanded variable set presents a critical problem. By analyzing the compromise

between

the

dominant

mechanisms

shaping

the

SES

structures,

the

analytical

multiscale

approach

can

provide such a physically reasonable closure in the form of variational criterion (or stability condition). This

approach is exemplified by the so-called energy-minimization multi-scale (EMMS) model for gas-solid riser

flow and has been extended to couple with two-fluid models. Coarse-grid simulations with EMMS-based

SES

models

have

been

incorporated

into

commercial

software

(Fluent

and

CFX)

and

applied

in

the

simulation of choking transition which is of great importance to industrial operation. Recent efforts have

further extended its application to simulate mass transfer in CFB, demonstrating this approach a promising

tool to meet the challenges in CFB simulation.

The EMMS approach for quantifying meso-scale structures in CFB risers is expected to develop further in

three directions. Firstly, the coupling of an axial model considering the acceleration effect and a radial model

considering wall and internal frictions with the global minimization of N
st

being the stability condition may

lead to a complete description of the flow field and the characteristics of its fluctuation behavior in steady

operations of the risers. Such a model will be most useful to industrial applications in that the information

provided is most relevant while the computational cost is very reasonable. Secondly, with both accelerations

and frictions considered on the element scale for the dense and dilute “phases”, and the reaction, mass and

heat transfer processes coupled with the hydrodynamic process, incorporation of EMMS and traditional CFD

methods can give comprehensive information of complex industrial units with adequate accuracy. Note that

the

Reynolds

number

is

insufficient

for

correlating

mass

transfer

data

since

more

structural

factors

are

involved

when

multi-scale

heterogeneity

presents.

And

finally,

by

implementing

CFD

models

(both

traditional and EMMS based) in particle methods, which can make full use of massive parallel computation,

fine-grid simulation of industrial risers can be achieved eventually. With these developments, the role of

computer

simulation

in

scaling-up,

optimization

and

on-line

control

of

CFB

units

can

be

significantly

promoted.

In

addition

to

the

efforts

in

upgrading

the

physical

models

for

CFD,

we

should

be

aware

of

the

incompatibility of physical model, mathematical algorithm and computer architecture is, in general, a major

reason

for

the

slow

development

of

computing

capability

along

with

the

dramatic

progress

in

computer

capacity.

When

different

algorithms

each

describing

different

phenomena

are

implemented

on

the

same

general-purpose

computer

architecture,

low

efficiency

is

almost

inevitable.

As

multi-scale

structure

is

common

nature

behind

various

systems

and

phenomena,

designing

computer

with

multi-scale

architecture and running multi-scale models may provide an efficient solution to many different problems,

and hence bridges high efficiency with reasonable generality.

Finally, we would conclude that a breakthrough in computational fluid dynamics is subject to the progress in

understanding spatio-temporal multi-scale structures and the efficient use of computer capacity. Therefore,

multi-scale nature of the simulated phenomena is a common challenge!

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