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Fuel 231 (2018) 281–289

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Full Length Article

Effect of bed characteristics on separation behavior of coal particles in a gas- T

solid fluidized bed

Zhenfu Luoa,b, , Yanan Wangc, Yuemin Zhaoa,b, Enhui Zhoua,b, Bo Lva,b
Key Laboratory of Coal Processing and Efficient Utilization of Ministry of Education, China University of Mining & Technology, Xuzhou 221116, China
School of Chemical Engineering and Technology, China University of Mining & Technology, Xuzhou 221116, China
State Key Laboratory of Coal Combustion, School of Energy and Power Engineering, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430074, China


Keywords: Air dense medium fluidized bed can achieve effective separation of −50 + 6 mm coal. However, the bed
Gas-solid fluidized bed characteristics significantly affect the separation behavior of coal particles. The results indicated that the bed
Emulsification phase critical expansion degree decreased with increase in static bed height, and the axial distribution coefficient of
Bubble low-density particles increased from 0.798 at Hs = 60 mm to 0.950 at Hs = 180 mm with raising concentration
Axial distribution coefficient
of emulsified-phase particles, which revealed low bed height is advantageous for particles floatation, while bed
density is not the main action factor in this process. As for bubble dimension calculation model, the Kato and
Wen formula is favored for smaller relative error for 0.3–0.25 mm bed particles. In addition, separation was
difficult when the density difference between the bed and the tracer spheres was more than 0.3 g/cm3, and the λ
value was almost constant with increase in fluidization number for each sphere whose density difference was less
than 0.3 g/cm3. With increasing Δρ from 0.07 g/cm3 to 0.27 g/cm3, the λ values for d = 38, 25, and 15 mm
increased from 0.44, 0.69, and 1.54 to 0.64, 1.00, and 2.01, respectively.

1. Introduction gas velocities by measuring the force of a test sphere laying at different
locations in a fluidized bed. He et al. [6] investigated the coal separa-
For gas-solid fluidized bed, particle characteristics is a key factor tion at different fluidization states, and found that low gas velocity had
determining its fluidization quality, including particle size and dis- difficulty in providing sufficient external energy to overcome the re-
tribution, surface roughness, density, shape, and hardness etc [1,2]. For sistance as particles movement, thus, density segregation phenomenon
dense medium coal preparation, whether wet or dry, magnetite powder was blocked, whereas larger fluidization numbers ranging from 1.4 to
is mainly used to achieve a certain density. Beginning with the early 1.8, the material particles began to form an better ash gradient in the
studies of Frazer and Yancey, many scholars have paid more attention axial direction, this was due to appropriate gas velocity improving the
to developing medium particles, including magnetite powder, iron bed activity and making it conducive to separate. However, low- and
powder, zirconium sand, beads, and quartz sand etc. Tang [3] adopted high-density coal particles become prone to occurring backmixing with
Geldart B magnetic powder as a dense medium solids, which was ef- further increase in fluidization number, which is bad to the separation
fectively applied in lump coal beneficiation owing to its wide adjustable process. As we all know a higher gas velocity destroys the bed stability,
range of bed density. In order to obtain an appropriate separation and large bubbles generate serious interferences to particle motion. The
density, different kinds of materials can be mixed. Franks et al. [4] separation efficiency is usually determined by bed viscosity and the
effectively separated copper ore by adjusting the weight ratios of three flow state of medium particle. In addition, feed particle properties also
kinds of different mediums (iron powder, silica sand, and zirconium), had an action on the bed fluidization characteristics and coal bene-
and the fluidization numbers were controlled between 1.1 and 1.6. ficiation, the fluidization conditions for coal samples with sizes of 6–13
For separation fluidized bed, gas velocity is the easiest way to adjust and 13–25 mm showed a drastic change in surrounding zones, and feed
the bed apparent density. Under the premise of ensuring better se- mass fraction and rate that influenced the separation accuracy should
paration accuracy, a higher gas velocity can improve the separation be controlled into certain range [7]. With decrease in coal particle size,
efficiency, certainly it also depends on material characteristics. Oshitani the specific surface area increased, while the sedimentation terminal
et al. [5] studied the flow behavior of medium particle under different velocity decreased. The increased drag force and gravity ratio resulted

Corresponding author at: School of Chemical Engineering and Technology, China University of Mining & Technology, Xuzhou 221116, China.
E-mail address: (Z. Luo).
Received 15 December 2017; Received in revised form 18 April 2018; Accepted 22 May 2018
0016-2361/ © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Z. Luo et al. Fuel 231 (2018) 281–289

a: Flow chartof experimental system: (1) Fan blower; (2) Air buffer; (3) Pressure gauges;
(4) Rotor flowmeter; (5) Blast gate; (6) Air distributor; (7) Fluidized bed; (8) copper pipe;
(9) Manometer.

b: Actual image of gas-solid fluidized bed

Fig. 1. Experimental system of gas-solid fluidized bed.

Table 1 using −5.66 + 0.42 mm coal and obtained the possible deviation
Bulk density of each size fraction dense medium. E = 0.03–0.10 g/cm3. At the same time, the migration of dense metal
Size fraction/mm Bulk density/g/cm3
elements during the separation of −13.2 mm low-grade coal was also
investigated. Sahu et al. [8,13–14] established a set of 600 kg/h con-
0.3–0.25 2.455 tinuous separation system in the laboratory, and by processing
0.25–0.18 2.527 −25 + 6 mm Indian high-ash coal obtained the possible deviation,
0.18–0.125 2.565
0.125–0.074 2.642
E = 0.12 g/cm3. Oshitani et al. [5,15–18] found that the floatation or
sinking of particle depended not only on the bed density, but also on the
apparent fluidization velocity. Their findings revealed that iron ores
Table 2 with a minimum size of 17.6 mm could be effectively separated, while
Average particle size of each size fraction dense medium. ores with sizes below 17.6 mm could not be stratified well obeying
density. The ideal apparent density can be achieved by adjusting the gas
Size fraction/mm 0.125–0.074 0.18–0.125 0.25–0.18 0.3–0.25
Average particle size/mm 0.093 0.147 0.208 0.266 velocity and selecting an appropriate dense medium. Moreover, the bed
density adjustment range can be broadened by mixing two different
medium particles.
in the enhancement of misplacement. So the optimal fluidization gas Bubble dynamics behavior is the basic characteristic of a bubbling
velocity should be selected according to the smallest particles in the fluidized bed, which significantly affects pressure drop, bed height,
feed [8]. Hence, a suitable fluidization gas velocity is a prerequisite for expansion degree, and bed mixing degree. Although many scholars used
effective separation of material in a gas-solid separation fluidized bed. theoretical and experimental methods and means to study the bubble
In the last decade, fluidization separation technology has attracted movement behavior in chemical field extensively [19–22], but fewer
more attention in the field of mineral processing. Gupta [9,10] and Xu studies referred to the air dense medium fluidized bed. Soria-Verdugo
[11,12] as well as other members had established a laboratory-scale air et al. [23] tracked object trajectories by using non-invasive tracing
dense medium fluidized bed model machine. Apart from studying the techniques and then performed digital image analysis. Rios et al. [24]
fluidization characteristics, they carried out separation experiment found that the average vector velocity of a floating sphere rising from

Z. Luo et al. Fuel 231 (2018) 281–289

di=1 5 mm di=2 5 mm di=38 mm

Fig. 2. Density spheres with different diameters of 15 mm, 25 mm, and 38 mm.

separation behavior in detail, Oshitani et al. [27] studied the feed

particles separation by using density adjusted spheres with four dif-
ferent diameters, and the separation results was evaluated by the
density sphere staying position. Prusti et al. [28] predicted the location
of coal particles in non-bubbling fluidized beds by experimental study
and dimensionless analysis. In this paper, by studying the effect of
emulsified phase on low-density coal particles flotation and bubble
action to tracer spheres distribution, which will help understand the
separation regularity of coal particles in a gas-solid fluidized bed and
guide practical operation.

2. Experimental

2.1. Apparatus

The experimental system used in this study is shown in Fig. 1. It

consists of an air supply system, a fluidized bed model, a differential
pressure measurement installation, and a dust removal system. All tests
were carried out in the dust removal cabinet, and the pressure of the
flowing gas supplied by a fan blower was controlled at approximately
0.02 MPa. The fluidized bed consisted of a bed body, an air chamber,
Fig. 3. Schematic diagram of stratified sampling.
and an air distributor. To facilitate testing and observation, the bed
body was made of a transparent plexiglass column with an inner dia-
20.00 meter of 120 mm and height of 350 mm. The gas distributor consists of
0.3-0.25 mm two perforated plexiglass plates and several pieces of fabric. In order to
0.25-0.18 mm
16.00 0.18-0.125 mm
measure the change in bed height with time, the bed sidewall was
0.125-0.074 mm marked with a graduated scale.


2.2. Materials

8.00 2.2.1. Magnetic medium properties

Geldart B magnetic powder was generally used in dry coal separa-
4.00 tion. When mixed with pulverized coal, it yields a suitable suspension
density by controlling the addition amount. Due to strong self-mag-
0.00 netism, which renders it easily recoverable by magnetic separation. Its
40 80 120 160 200 true density was 4.616 g/cm3, and the size distributions of the medium
Hs (mm) solid are listed in Table 1. The S3500 laser particle size analyzer was
used to determine the particle size distribution of each size fraction by
Fig. 4. Critical degree of expansion of dense medium at different static bed wet operation. The average particle size was calculated by Eq. (1). The
heights. specific data are shown in Table 2.
∑ γi di
the central region of the bed was approximately equal to 30% of the ds =
∑ γi (1)
average bubble rising velocity. Further, Lim et al. [25] verified the
velocity relationship obtained by G. M. Rios; due to the existing time where γi is the mass percentage corresponding to average particle size
span between two adjacent bubbles, a value of 7% was obtained taking d i.
one cycle into account. Wang et al. [26] simulated the dynamic beha-
vior of gas-solid flow in a pilot scale coal beneficiation fluidized bed
2.2.2. Low density particles and density spheres
based on the Eulerian model together with the kinetic theory of gran-
Coal particles of density with 1.3–1.4 g/cm3 and size with 13–6 mm
ular flows, and bubble characteristics was used as an indicator to
were used in the test, while density spheres were made by controlling
evaluate fluidization results. To understand the feed particles
the amount of magnetite powder added to the hollow ball. With that

Z. Luo et al. Fuel 231 (2018) 281–289

Fig. 5. Sampling method for different static bed heights.

method spheres with different diameters of 15, 25, and 38 mm, density contradiction between the above two points. Usually, expansion degree
rangement from 1.5 to 2.1 g/cm3 were obtained, as shown in Fig. 2. impacts relatively weaker. Presently, only the bed height is increased to
improve the material handling capacity in practical operation. How-
2.3. Evaluation indicator ever, the bed height is not increased arbitrarily, and the bubble char-
acteristics in the bed should be considered simultaneously (Fig. 5).
The axial distribution coefficient, t, is an indicator of stratification
performance. 3.1.2. Effect of emulsification phase concentration on coal particles
i−1 Since Geldart B particles have a low expansion degree, the height
t= ∑ · ti
P−1 (2) relationship of coal particles in the fluidized and standing states can be
obtained by Eq. (4):
Here, P is the bed layer number and ti is the material mass ratio of
layer i to the total. t = 0 indicates that the material overall floats near Hfp = αHsp, (4)
the bed surface, t = 1 implies that all the materials sink to the bottom of where Hfp and Hsp is the location heights of feeding particle in the
the bed, and t = 0.5 indicates even distribution in each layer. For fluidized and standing states, respectively, and α is the ratio of bed
stratified sampling, the material was evenly divided into five layers fluidization height to static height.
after gas flow was shut off, as shown in Fig. 3, through a standard sieve When the medium particles from the fixed state enter the fluidized
to remove the magnetite powder and obtain the material. state, according to the principle of weight balance:
ρf Vf = ρb V (5)
3. Results and discussion
3.1. Emulsification phase
Vf = V + ΔV , (6)
3.1.1. Critical expansion degree where ρf is the fluidized bed density, ρb is the bulk density, V and Vf are
Hmf −Hs the bed volumes of the fixed and fluidized states, and ΔV is the bed
η= × 100%, expansion volume.
Hs (3)
From Eqs. (5) and (6), we obtain
where Hmf is the bed height at a minimum fluidization state and Hs is
the static bed height. ρf = ρb ⎛1 + ⎞
⎝ V ⎠ (7)
The expansion degree is very important for separation fluidized
beds, and that affects the bed separation space. On the other hand, it Thus, the bed density in critical fluidized state is
reflects the gas retention ability of the bed material, which is closely ρmf = ρb /(1 + η) (8)
related to the emulsified phase. For Geldart B particles, the bed ex-
pansion space is limited, thus, it is necessary to study the expansion Magnetite powder with a size 0.3–0.25 mm was adopted for the test
properties in the critical fluidization state. It can be seen from Fig. 4 since the bed expansion degree decreased with increasing bed height.
that the critical expansion degree decreases with increase in bed height, To obtain different emulsified phase concentrations, four different bed
which indicates a trend of continuous decrease in gas content. The heights of 60, 100, 140, and 180 mm were chosen. The critical fluidi-
expansion degree for 0.3–0.25 and 0.18–0.125 mm decreased from zation height for Hs = 60 mm was set as a standard, and the same
13.75% and 16.25% at 40 mm to 5.28% and 5.67% at 180 mm, re- height was selected from the bed bottom as the study object for other
spectively. Therefore, the average medium particle concentration of the three heights. The total feed volume of low-density coal particles was
gas-solid suspension increased. There was no doubt that it enhanced the for 50 cm3. These particles were uniformly laid at an 8-mm distance
difficulty in reducing bed separation density. The bed volume in the from the air distribution plate (ensuring feed particles subjected to bed
critical fluidization state might as well be considered as the volume of buoyancy), and the distribution of feed particles within this reference
the emulsified phase in the bubbling state. For the same bed height, the fluidization height was explored by transforming its fluidization height
higher expansion degree is beneficial to improving the material pro- into a standing height since it is difficult to study the distribution in
cessing capacity, in general a lower bed height corresponded to higher fluidized state. In this test, except layer 1′ the bed was evenly divided
expansion. Nevertheless, increasing the bed height is a practical means into five layers, and the method is shown in Fig. 4. In order to prevent
to improving the processing capacity. Therefore, there is a too many coal particles from entering layer 1′, the stratification time

Z. Luo et al. Fuel 231 (2018) 281–289

1.0 form of bubbles, and the effect of bubble on the separation of feed
(a) N=1.05 particles was introduced later. The influence of emulsified-phase par-
0.9 ticle concentration on feed particle stratification was studied by con-
trolling the bed in the minimum fluidized state as the emulsified phase
0.8 and then conducting the feed stratification study according to the above
method. The high bed concentration leading to large viscosity posed
0.7 severe resistance to the rising of coal particles. Therefore, the time re-
quired for the rise of low-density particles was longer. In order to im-
0.6 prove test efficiency, microbubble fluidization state was adopted in-
Hs=60 mm
stead of the critical fluidization state, however, the fluidization number
Hs=100 mm
0.5 should be controlled in the range of 1.05–1.25 in case the bubble
Hs=140 mm
caused a greater interference on the coal particles. It can be seen from
Hs=180 mm
0.4 Fig. 6(a) that at N = 1.05, the axial distribution coefficient increased
with increasing bed height, and the t value at Hs = 60 mm is lower than
that at Hs = 180 mm. Particularly at the stratification time 80s, the t
value reduced from 0.795 at Hs = 180 mm to 0.664 at Hs = 60 mm. Due
(b) N=1.15 to the decrease in bed density with reduction in static bed height, the
density difference between the bed and low-density particles decreased
as the bed height reduced. However, the feed particles did not exhibit
poor result, on the contrary, a lower bed height accorded a better
floating performance, and the axial distribution coefficient appeared
0.7 relatively smaller, reflecting a better flow activity. In this case, the bed

density is not the main factor affecting the rise of low-density particles,
0.6 and the bed fluid activity determines the speed of feed particle move-
ment. At N = 1.15 and 1.25, the action of bubble began to be promi-
0.5 nent, and the higher bed height was favorable for the floatation of low-
density feed particles, which is attributed to the increasing bubble
0.4 diameter with increasing bed height. Thus, strong external action was
conducive to the floatation of low-density material particles.
0.3 It can be seen from Fig. 7 that the axial distribution coefficient
(c) N=1.25 decreases with increase in fluidization number in the lower range, as
0.6 well as with increase in stratification time. Therefore, both high flui-
dization number and long stratification time will be beneficial to the
0.5 floating of low-density materials. In order to intuitively understand the
float-sink results in the critical fluidization state, the data of N = 1.05,
0.4 1.10, and 1.15 was fitted linearly, and the fitting equation is presented
in Table 3. The intersection of the equation and the t-axis is the axial
0.3 distribution coefficient at N = 1; the results are shown in Table 4. It can
be seen from Table 4 that in the critical fluidization state, the axial
0.2 distribution coefficient increases from 0.798 at Hs = 60 mm to 0.950 at
Hs = 180 mm, reducing the concentration of emulsified-phase particles,
0.1 which is advantageous for the floatation of low-density materials, and
also responding good flow activity at a low bed height; at this time, bed
0.0 density is not the main factor affecting the rise of low-density materials.
10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90
(s) 3.2. Bubble phase

Fig. 6. Axial distribution coefficient of low-density particles at different testing 3.2.1. Bubble dimension calculation model
times. In order to understand the bubble distribution characteristics in the
fluidized bed, a two-dimensional fluidization bed with 25-mm thickness
was controlled within 80s; the few particles that escaped to layer 1′ was selected as the test bed. High-speed dynamic cameras were used to
were counted in layer 1. According to Eq. (4), for static bed height Hs1, record the bubbles in the fluidized bed with size fractions of
0.3–0.25 mm. In addition, three bubble dimension calculation models
Hf 1 = β1 Hs1 (9) were chosen, as follows:
and for static bed height Hs2,
1) The formula proposed by Darton et al.
Hf 2 = β2 Hs2 (10)
Dbh = 0.54(Uf −Umf )0.4 (h + 4 At / n 0 )0.8/g 0.2 (12)
If Hf1 = Hf2, then
β1 2) The Kato and Wen formula
Hs2 = Hs1
β2 (11) Dbh = 0.147ρs Dp (Uf / Umf ) h + Db0 (13)
For different static bed heights, the sampling height of each layer
was calculated by Eq. (11). According to the two-phase flow theory, as 3) The formula proposed by Qin et al.
the gas flow entering the bed is higher than the amount required for the
critical fluidization state, the excess part flows through the bed in the

Z. Luo et al. Fuel 231 (2018) 281–289

1.0 1.0
0.9 0.9
0.8 0.8
0.7 0.7
0.6 0.6
t 0.5 0.5

0.4 t=15 s
0.3 t=30 s 0.3
t=45 s
0.2 t=60 s
(a) Hs=60 mm (b) Hs=100 mm
0.1 t=80 s 0.1
0.0 0.0
1.05 1.10 1.15 1.20 1.25 1.05 1.10 1.15 1.20 1.25
1.0 1.0
0.9 0.9
0.8 0.8
0.7 0.7
0.6 0.6
0.5 0.5


0.4 0.4
0.3 0.3
0.2 0.2
(c) Hs=140 mm (d) Hs=180 mm
0.1 0.1
0.0 0.0
1.05 1.10 1.15 1.20 1.25 1.05 1.10 1.15 1.20 1.25
Fig. 7. Axial distribution coefficient of low-density particles at different static bed heights.

Table 3
Fitting straight lines at different static bed heights.
Hs = 60 mm Hs = 100 mm Hs = 140 mm Hs = 180 mm

τ = 15 s t = −0.477 N + 1.371 t = −0.297 N + 1.165 t = −0.636 N + 1.514 t = −1.230 N + 2.259

τ = 30 s t = −0.040 N + 0.849 t = −0.914 N + 1.791 t = −0.991 N + 1.886 t = −1.442 N + 2.399
τ = 45 s t = −0.683 N + 1.476 t = −1.151 N + 1.988 t = −0.973 N + 1.857 t = −1.865 N + 2.777
τ = 60 s t = −0.566 N + 1.331 t = −1.743 N + 2.603 t = −1.372 N + 2.230 t = −2.008 N + 2.919
τ = 80 s t = −0.851 N + 1.580 t = −2.180 N + 3.042 t = −1.711 N + 2.551 t = −3.273 N + 4.214

Table 4 relative error Eq. (15). After determining four different measurement
Axial distribution coefficient at N = 1. heights at N = 1.2 or N = 1.3, the test results can be reflected from
Hs = 60 mm Hs = 100 mm Hs = 140 mm Hs = 180 mm
Fig. 8 that the calculation using Kato and Wen formula is nearer to the
actual measurement values, and the relative error is controlled within
τ = 15 s 0.894 0.868 0.878 1.029 the range of 4.36–12.34%, while the other two models are both larger
τ = 30 s 0.809 0.877 0.895 0.957 than 25% in all test conditions (Fig. 9).
τ = 45 s 0.793 0.837 0.884 0.912
The relative error was calculated as follows:
τ = 60 s 0.765 0.860 0.858 0.911
τ = 80 s 0.729 0.862 0.840 0.941 |dti−dai |
Average 0.798 0.861 0.871 0.950 Si = ,
dai (15)
where dti is the bubble dimension calculated from the model and dai is
1.5g1/7 A the diameter calculated by practical measurement.
Dbh = 1.28(Uf −Umf )0.8 ⎡h
+ ( t ) 4/7⎤ g 0.2
⎢ (Uf −Umf )
2/7 n ⎥
⎣ 0 ⎦ (14)
3.2.2. Effect of bubble phase on the staying position of density spheres
The average bubble diameter at height range from sphere top to
bottom is
Here, At is the bed cross-sectional area and n0 is the number of holes in H + d /2
∫Hfpfp− d /2 [0.147ρs Dp (Uf /Umf ) h + Db0 ] dh
the perforated plate. Dm = = 0.147ρs Dp Hfp (Uf / Umf )
As a result of the use of a dense hole distribution plate, At / n 0 ≈ 0, d
then Db0 ≈ 0. To clearly distinguish a single bubble, a high fluidization + Db0 (16)
gas velocity needs to be avoided. The high-speed dynamic shooting
time was set as 10 s. Thereafter, the image was analyzed, and the The ratio of average bubble dimension to the sphere diameter is
bubble dimension was standardized through the scale. The proximity of Dm
each model to the actual measurement can be characterized by the d (17)

Z. Luo et al. Fuel 231 (2018) 281–289

70 from four values, excluding the maximum and minimum values.

Darton If h x = (Hfp−d/2)/(Hf −d ) , then hx is still considered to be 1 though
60 Kato and Wen
the density ball is exposed to the bed surface.
50 As shown in Fig. 11, the density spheres with density less than
1.8 g/cm3 appear to be on or near the bed surface, thus, it is difficult to
Si (%)

40 separate them. The spheres whose densities are larger than 1.8 g/cm3
can be separated by adjusting the gas velocity so that the vertical dis-
tance between the low-density spheres becomes larger. In the gas-solid
20 fluidized bed, as the sphere density increased, the spheres appeared
segregated, which was more pronounced with increasing fluidization
10 numbers. This is mainly due to the decreased density difference be-
tween the sphere and the bed. Moreover, the bed expansion is also
1 2 3 4 advantageous for the flow of density ball, and compared to the effects of
Number these two factors, the effect of bubbles is less marked. At N = 1.3 and
Fig. 8. Relative error of various models in calculating bubble diameter.
1.4, the bed density was below 2.1 g/cm3, however, since the 2.1 g/cm3
density sphere was still in the range of ρf ± 0.1 g/cm3, it was difficult
to sink it to the bottom of the bed. For d = 38 and 25 mm, hx value was
2.30 1.24
below 0.5, existing in the lower half of the bed, while for d = 15 mm,
2.25 the hx values at N = 1.3 and N = 1.4 was 0.64 and 0.45, respectively.
1.20 Compared to the other two larger diameters, its position was higher; it
2.20 can be seen that large diameter facilitated the separation between high-
(g/cm )


density particles. By comparing the three different diameters, it was

2.15 found that 1.8–2.1 g/cm3 density spheres rose in the bed as the sphere
1.12 diameters decreased, which was detrimental to particle separation.

Since the extent of the bubbles effect on fine materials will be large,
2.05 1.08 effective separation of fine particles is hard to achieve.
As can be seen from Fig. 11, it was difficult to separate the particles
2.00 1.04 when the density differences between the bed and the tracer spheres
1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 were more than 0.3 g/cm3; they remained near the bed surface.
Therefore, it is vital to study material segregation wherein the density
Fig. 9. Bed density and expansion ratios at different fluidization numbers. difference was less than 0.3 g/cm3. For this purpose, three different
densities, 1.9, 2.0, and 2.1 g/cm3, were chosen.
In Fig. 12, the abscissa is the density ratio between the density ball
and the bed, and the ordinate is the ratio of the surrounding bubble
dimension and the density sphere diameters. For the same density, the λ
value increases with decrease in sphere diameter. It can be considered
that the small particle size is easily affected by the bubble. For density
spheres with different diameters, the small changes in λ value is con-
sidered constant with increase in density ratio, indicating that the bed
density effect is small. This is due to the low expansion degree of the
Geldart B particles because of which the bubble environment is domi-
nant over the particle position distribution in the fluidized bed.

4. Conclusions

(1) In the critical fluidized state, the critical expansion degree of the
bed decreased with increase in bed height, and the axial distribu-
tion coefficient of the low-density particles increased with raise in
the concentration of emulsified-phase particles, from 0.798 at
Hs = 60 mm to 0.950 at Hs = 180 mm, so reducing the concentra-
Fig. 10. Schematic depicting distribution of particle position.
tion of emulsified-phase particles is advantageous for the floatation
of low-density materials. This also reflected that the bed flow ac-
In order to determine the position distribution of materials with tivity was excellent for a low static bed height, and at this time the
different densities in the fluidized bed without taking particle shape influence degree of bed density was less than fluid activity. At
into consideration, the density range of 1.5–2.1 g/cm3 and diameters N = 1.15 and 1.25, the bubble action began to be prominent, so the
d = 38, 25, and 15 mm of self-made spheres were used. The static bed higher bed height was favorable for the floatation of low-density
height was set as 140 mm. The expansion ratio and bed density under feed particles.
different fluidization numbers are shown in Fig. 8. As can be seen, with (2) For 0.3–0.25 mm gas-solid bed, the calculation result by Kato and
increasing fluidization number, the bed density gradually decreases, Wen formula is nearer to the actual measurement values by com-
while the bed expansion ratio increases. paring with other two bubble dimension calculation models, and
The sphere staying height and the dimension of the surrounding the relative error is controlled within the range of 4.36–12.34%,
bubble in the fluidized bed were obtained by Eqs. (4) and (16), re- while the other two models are both larger than 25% in all test
spectively. If the density sphere is completely immersed in the fluidized conditions.
bed, the gravity center range of the density sphere in the fluidized bed (3) For gas-solid separation fluidized bed, the spheres appeared seg-
is (d/2, Hf-d/2), as shown in Fig. 10. The length of this interval is Hf-d. regated as the sphere density increased, which was more pro-
Six tests were performed for each factor, and the average was derived nounced with increasing fluidization numbers. Large diameter

Z. Luo et al. Fuel 231 (2018) 281–289

1.0 1.0

0.8 0.8

0.6 0.6

0.4 N=1.05 0.4
0.2 N=1.3 0.2
N=1.4 (a) d=38 mm (b) d=25 mm
0.0 0.0
1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 2.0 2.1 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 2.0 2.1
3 3
(g/cm ) (g/cm )





(c) d=15 mm
1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 2.0 2.1
(g/cm )
Fig. 11. hx Value of each density sphere at different fluidization numbers.

2.8 2.4
d=38 mm
2.4 d=25 mm 2.0
d=15 mm

0.4 0.4

0.82 0.84 0.86 0.88 0.90 0.92 0.94 0.96 0.86 0.88 0.90 0.92 0.94 0.96 0.98 1.00
/ f p
/ f
3 3
(a) p
=1.9 g/cm (a) p
=2.0 g/cm






0.90 0.92 0.94 0.96 0.98 1.00 1.02 1.04 1.06

p f
(c) p
=2.1 g/cm

Fig. 12. Value of λ of various density spheres.

Z. Luo et al. Fuel 231 (2018) 281–289

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