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Chemical Engineering Science, Vol. 51, No. 4, pp. 667-669, 1996
Copyright © 1996 Elsevier Science Ltd
Printed in Great Britain. All rights reserved
0009-2509/96 $15.00 + 0.00



fluidization: a typical dissipative structure

(Received 22 June 1995)

Figure 1 shows the variation of different energy terms with
gas velocity, all computed according to the EMMS model
(Li et al., 1988; Li and Kwauk, 1994). The figure indicates
that in the PFC regime for fluidization, the dissipated energy
Ndisoccupies a considerable portion of the total energy Nr,
while as the flow regime transits to dilute transport, it drops
In the EMMS model, the energy consumption for suspending and transporting unit mass of particles N~ is shown
to be minimal in the PFC regime and maximal in the FD
regime, and it can therefore be used as the criterion for
stability conditions. Further work (Li et al., 1993) indicated
that Nt can be used as a substitute for N~, to define stability
conditions of these two regimes, that is, Nt = rain in the PFC
regime and Nr = max in the FD regime. Noting the constancy of N r at any specified value of Ug from eq. (3), it thus
follows from eq. (5) that Nais = max in the PFC regime with
a two-phase structure and that Nals = rain in the FD regime
with a uniform structure.

In accordance with the controlling role of the particles
and/or the fluid, Li et al. (1992) characterized the three major
regimes in particle-fluid two-phase flow as: particle dominating (PD) for the fixed bed, particle-fluid compromising (PFC)
for fluidization and fluid dominating (FD) for dilute transport. Subsequent efforts have been focused on transition and
structural difference between regimes (Li and Kwauk, 1994).
In modeling particle-fluid two-phase flow by the energyminimization multi-scale (EMMS) method, Li et al. (1988)
attributed the stability of the heterogeneous two-phase structure of the PFC regime to the inherent tendency of the
system toward minimal energy expended in suspending and
transporting the particles Nst. For the FD regime, on the
other hand, the EMMS method revealed that N,t tends
toward a maximum. Such contrary criteria point to the
extremum behavior (Li et al., 1993) unique to particle-fluid
two-phase flow.
According to the theorem of minimum entropy production (Prigogine, 1967), steady states of linear nonequilibrium
systems prevail only when the entropy production rate is
minimized. There is however no single and general variational theorem for nonlinear steady-state dissipative systems
(Gage et al., 1966; Nicolis, 1994). This paper purports to
examine the extremum behavior of fluidized systems in the
light of nonequilibrium thermodynamics in order to explore
valid approaches to elucidate the bifurcation phenomenon
and dissipative structure for such complicated systems.

The PD regime for the fixed bed essentially corresponds to
single-phase fluid flow through a maze of channels composed of packed particles. Particles determine the configuration of these channels, and the fluid merely seeks these
channels and distributes itself through paths with minimal
resistance, resulting in minimal energy dissipation. The pressure gradient AP/AL in this regime is known to vary with
superficial fluid velocity Ug, and in the case of fine particles,
it is proportional to Ug and is affected by an exponential
function e-4'7 of the voidage of the packed solid particles (Li
and Kwauk, 1994):

In a particle-fluid system with superficial fluid velocity
Ug and solids flow rate Gs, the energy supplied to the system
is spent not only in suspending and transporting the particles
but also as dissipated energy in particle collision, circulation,
acceleration, etc. (Li et al., 1988). With respect to unit mass of
particles in unit cross-sectional area normal to the direction
of flow, the total energy consumed is


AL(1 - e)pv


(1 - ~)(p, - pz)g.



~-£ =

N~ = U ~ g\ ( P~v - / P I ]


The energy consumption transformed into particle potential
energy is
N, = G~#/(1 - e)Pv.
Therefore, the total dissipated energy is
Ndi s = N T - - N t.


d v2 e4 7•
18(1--e)# I AL

implying linear relationship between the driving force
AP/AL and the superficial fluid velocity Ug, as shown in Fig.
2 by experiments carried out with FCC particles fluidized
with air, with local voidages monitored with an optical fiber
As the superficial fluid velocity increases to that for minimum fluidization Uml, particles start to move and expand
with increasing voidage e, leading to nonlinearity between
Ug and AP/AL. The system is said to have entered the PFC
regime. With increasing superficial fluid velocity, nonlinearity of the system increases and reaches a critical extent at
the minimum bubbling velocity Umbat which the fluid organizes itself into bubbles and particles aggregate into the emulsion phase, resulting in a dramatic change in flow structure
which is now dissipative with ordered behaviors as Nicolis
and Prigogine (1977) described. Such a change is known as
the first bifurcation corresponding to nonequilibrium phase
transformation in thermodynamics. For particle-fluid systems with large particles, corresponding to high Rev, the
dissipative structure appears immediately beyond Urns, that


Umf = U=b.01 0. The first bifurcation at U.....5 1. the A P / A L ~ U 9 curve bifurcates into two branches both satisfying the mass and momentum conservation equations. With the onset of this second bifurcation. Although thermodynamics does not specify any single and general variational theorem for such a steady-state dissipative structure.:~_.. implying a more or less homogeneous structure. 0 0. 0 max ~./ . in which the particles organize themselves into a dense phase with voidage e~ and PFC PD Fixed Bed FD Fluidtzation Transport 40 U=f '$ E U 30 O~k" ~ 0 20 .. both of which are mobile...5 8. and the dense phase disappears. 10 ••• / Q. . and it is therefore designated fluid dominating (FD). the conventional time.b. Its nonlinear nature is characterized by a highly heterogeneous two-phase structure with significant energy dissipation which is necessary to maintain its steady state. another is unstable with particulate structure as shown by the dashed line. 2...b "'. 1988). known as "choking". at which the nonlinear two-phase PFC regime suddenly gives way to the single-phase dilute transport (generally known as "choking"). [ L ./.. although the dilute phase becomes somewhat denser. resulting in a second bifurcation.~ 0. As superficial fluid velocity further increases. future research should be focused on the non-linear behaviors of the system...1.0 2. however. calculated from the EMMS model (Li et al. For gas-solid systems. the probability of the existence of these two voidage values narrow down to a very limited range (a single value in theory). Fixed B Bed Fixld Upt P.5 10 Nd. / 10 N°nlineaz ~j~~i~A U. The second bifurcation at Upt. am Fluidization iiato . corresponding to the heterogeneous and the homogeneous structure. Such a change corresponds to a switch of stability conditions from Nd~s = max to N d i s = min.01 0.0 $. X J . 1.. . dp = 54 #m. 2. the fluid determines the flow structure.5 2. showing an ordered dissipative structure and extremum behavior of the system.. This dissipative structure is brought about jointly by the particles and the fluid. only the two-phase heterogeneous structure..668 Shorter Communication is.r£.. local voidage takes a constant value. Gs = 50 kg/m2s). Experimental results (shown as dots) in a fluidized bed of 90 mm ID with FCC particles. as shown in Fig. a second critical velocity Up~ is reached. the selforganization of particles is suppressed.=min Ndi = _/_. Because of the predominance of the dissipative structure in gas solid ftuidization. In dilute transport. greater perturbation prevails in such a two-phase structure.0~ 0.. Figure 3 shows the bifurcation phenomena in terms of local voidages in the fluidized FCC bed.5 V note chargeof scalefar L~ Gas Velocity Ug (m/s) Fig. At U o > U. the E M M S analysis indicates that for this highly dissipative structure.. If the first bifurcation occurs at minimum fluidization (case for large Rep).. showing linear characteristics in the fixed-bed regime but nonlinear behaviors in the fluidization regime.and spaceaveraged approaches do not suffice for adequate elucidation of the mechanisms and for quantifying the process.b results in two branches of fluidization: one is stable with an aggregative structure due to self-organization of particles and the fluid. local voidage changes suddenly to alternate between a value close to unity and a value approaching eraf. as shown by experimental data in Fig.. respectively... With increasing fluid velocity. Energy consumptions in different regimes of a particle-fluid system. is physically stable. / I the fluid into a dilute phase with voidage ef. leads to a second sudden change in flow structure..e~ " B "~B . Nd~s = max.0 .. J i ~ i J 1 2 3 4 5 Gas Velocity Ug (m/s) Fig. With the onset of the second bifurcation at choking. resulting in more extensive scatter of voidage values between unity and e. showing maximum dissipation in fluidization regime but minimum dissipation in transport regime (FCC/air: pp = 930 kg/m 3. 2.0 1. attesting to intensification of chaotic and/or random behaviors. In the particledominating fixed-bed regime. 0 4. Second Bifurcation -.00 0.

-. Chen. Beijing 100080. . with sudden reversion to homogeneous structure. . • I. Nicolis. S..'. 2.. Introduction to Thermodynamics of Irreversible Processes.. . New York.. In Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics Variational Techniques and Stability (edited by R. Multiple resolution appears to be a promising approach toward understanding such a complicated system: total energy resolved into reversible and irreversible energies. J/kg s total dissipated energy with respect to unit mass of particles. Experimental results (shown as dots) in the same bed as Fig.". • biextremum voidages with increasing chaotic and randora changes in fluidization regime.-~.1 1 AP/AL 10 Umf Upt ~_~as:-.. R.. Li. 1 5 August 1993. G. Schiffer. M.66 i Ur. The non-existence of a general thermodynamic variational principle. "': I. J/kg s total energy consumption with respect to unit mass of particles. p. " "'. showing bifurcations of local voidage: • a single constant voidage in fixed-bed regime. as particle self-organization becomes suppressed..f .'. and global structure resolved into subsystems of different scales. m/s 2 solids flow rate. Mooson Kwauk for his encouragement and help. Pittsburgh. New York. p. (3) Fluidization is a typical dissipative structure with nonlinear and nonequilibrium behaviors.89 Nst . The first bifurcation marks the occurrence of bubbling with sudden appearance of dissipative structure."i' . L.0. Li.f ..~:": " "" NT "-?. . and Zhang..'- I . G. Large). 1993. and Kwauk.V'. H. Beijing. kg/m 2 s 2 minimum fluidization velocity. Z./." : . " " . M. 1992. Vol. Donnelly.78 .. Acknowledgements The authors wish to thank Prof. 056 . ~¢'. 89.... M. I • . . the second..:" Nt I Ndis . particle-fluid movement resolved into extremum and chaotic and/or random movements.k#!". Y. ." ' ". Nicolis. Kwauk.:.'.~. Interscience Publishers.-~'. 83. Tung. and Prigogine... m/s superficial velocity. J. J.. JINGHAI LI* GUIHUA QIAN LIXIONG WEN Multi-Phase Reaction Laboratory Institute of Chemical Metallurgy Academia Sinica.:. 1994 (personal communication).. Chicago. i ' ". ~ .' I'..R. China * Corresponding author. . Fdllll g G. F.. . J. . Particlefluid contacting in circulating fluidized beds.. :. Multi-scale modeling and method of energy minimization in particle-fluid twophase flow.~.- • NOTATION rTranspor dp . ~ . 1988. 1967. X. II (edited by P. m/s minimum velocity for dilute transport. ". Role of energy minimization in gas/solid fluidization. CONCLUSIONS (1) Major regime transition in particle-fluid two-phase flow (notably for gas-solid systems) corresponds to bifurcation in thermodynamics. Weikang Yuan and Prof...~." "- ". J. P. D. Metallurgical Industry Press.. 669 Ug Umb p: pp ef ~c s sa e* particle diameter.. M. kg/m s REFERENCES Gage.:. (2) The stability of the nonlinear dissipative PFC regime is governed by Ndis = max. J. .. Nicklin). Li. C... Oxford. m/s minimum bubbling velocity. 0. Potter and D. © • I 0. 0. Xu. :. Valuable discussion with Prof. and Kwauk. m gravity acceleration. the whole process resolved into ordered and disordered branches.:v. Prigogine.~. The University of Chicago Press.":'-'1 73 o 0. ". ' : ~ ~ ~ " :" i:".. kg/m 3 voidage in dilute phase voidage in dense phase average voidage average voidage in the PFC regime at critical point average voidage in the FD regime at critical point fluid viscosity. and Reynolds..Velocity LJo (m/s) Fig. Kline. In Circulating Fluidized Bed Technology. 1994. In Fluidization V l l (edited by O. Prigogine). :. J.:" . .'. presented at the 4th International Conference on Circulating Fluidized Beds. Basu and J. • :~:-- . . J/kg s pressure gradient. Pergamon.: . 3.. kg/m 2 s energy consumed for suspending and transporting unit mass of particles. Self-Organization in Nonequilibrium Systems. Upt " ... Particle-Fluid Two-Phase Flow--the Energy-minimization Multi-scale Method.O0 F ILIIdl Z 8 t tON Bed.~ ". A. Yan. for Dissipative Structures to Order Through Fluctuations. • convergence to another single-valued voidage in transport regime. I.' .. G.. Engineering Foundation. - :. kg/m 3 particle density. Whether such a variational criterion is applicable to some other nonlinear nonequilibrium systems is to be explored further. J/kg s transporting energy consumption with respect to unit mass of particles. J. and Reh. Herman and I. New York.':'~.Shorter Communication P~xed 1 . J. Li.'. E.-. Jiuli Luo and financial support from National Natural Science Foundation of China and Academia Sinica are also gratefully acknowledged. .::-'.:. I. : .44 001 ":. W. . PFC/FD transition. Wiley. . 1977. from fluidization to dilute transport.'~~'. m/s fluid density. ". 1966.