Minimum Fluidization Velocity

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Minimum Fluidization Velocity

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Consider a vertical bed of particles for the case when the fluid flows upwards through the

bed as shown in the figure below. When the fluid velocity through the bed exceeds a critical

value the particles in the bed will start moving like a fluid and this action is called

fluidization. The objective of this analysis is to calculate the minimum fluidization velocity.

Before fluidization the problem is similar to flow through a packed bed. Apply Mechanical

Energy Balance for upwards flow through the bed:

u2

+ 0

f

2

+ g z + + wS = 0

(1)

If the cross-sectional area of the bed A is constant and there is no shaft work between the

beds inlet and outlet, the mechanical energy balance can be simplified:

P = (P1 P2 ) = f g h0 + f

(2)

For packed beds the frictional losses is given by the following equation:

= 3 fF

1 0

3

0

u 02

L

DP

(3)

where 0 is the void fraction before fluidization. f F appearing in equation (3) is the friction

factor for packed beds which accounts for both laminar and turbulent flow regimes:

Contribution

Laminar

Turbulent

Contribution

1

150

+

fF =

1.75

3

Re

(4)

Page 1

and Re is the Reynolds number for packed beds defined as:

Re =

f u 0 DP

(1 0 ) f

(5)

Substituting equations (3-5) into the mechanical energy balance equation (2) and

rearranging, the following equation can be derived for flow through packed beds: known as

Ergun equation:

drop due to friction

Pressure

150(1 0 ) f

2 L 1 0

(P1 P2 ) =

+

g

h0

+ 1.75 f u 0

f

DP 3

f u 0 DP

(6)

To derive an equation for the minimum fluidization velocity, we have to apply the following

physical concept:

Fluidization of the packed bed starts when the pressure drop across the packed bed is equal

the weight of the bed/unit area.

150(1 0 ) f

L 1 0

+ f g (h0 )

Pressure drop across bed =

+ 1.75 f u 02

3

D

u

D

0

f

P

P

0

=

Unit Area

(1 0 ) s h0 g

0 f h0 g

Equating:

150(1 0 ) f

L 1 0

+ f g h0 = (1 0 ) s h0 g + 0 f h0 g

+ 1.75 f u 02

DP 03

f u 0 DP

(7)

And rearranging:

a

b

f 2 150(1 0 ) f

1.75

(

(

u

u

-g

+

+

0

S

f )) = 0

0

DP 03

DP2 03

(8)

The above equation is similar to equation 4.43 of the textbook. Solving for u 0 gives the

minimum fluidization velocity:

u0 =

- b b2 - 4 a c

2a

(9)

CHE 204, Prepared by: Dr. Usamah Al-Mubaiyedh

Page 2

Example

Air of density 1.21 kg/m3 and viscosity 18.3 x 10-6 kg/m s flows upwards through a sand bed,

as shown in figure below. The sand particles are uniform, with an average diameter of 0.2

mm and void fraction of 0.3 (before fluidization) and density 4500 kg/m3. If the height of the

bed before fluidization is 10 m, calculate the minimum fluidization velocity.

10 m

Sand Bed

Air Flow

a

b

2 150(1 0 )

1.75

(

(

u

u

-g

+

+

0

S

f )) = 0

D2 3 0

DP 03

P 0

a = 1.75

b=

f

DP

= 1.75

(1.21)

(0.2 10 3 )(0.3)3

= 392129.6

=

= 1779166.7

2

3

DP2 3

0.2 10 3 (0.3)

u0 =

- b + b 2 - 4 a c 1779166.7 + 1798495.8

=

= 0.0246 m/s = 88.7 m/hr

2a

784259.2

Page 3

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