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Flow of Fluids through

Fluidised Bed

• 6.1.2. Effect of fluid velocity on pressure gradient
and pressure drop
• When a fluid flows slowly upwards through a bed of
very fine particles the flow is streamline and a linear
relation exists between pressure gradient and flowrate.
• If the pressure gradient (−P/l) is plotted against the
superficial velocity (uc) using logarithmic co-ordinates a
straight line of unit slope is obtained, as shown in Figure

Transport of particles starts at terminal velocity of free settling . Incipient working in transport bed fluidised bed P is due to s - from incipient fluidisation until incipient transport of particles. At fluidisation. particles can be treated as hindered settling. uc > terminal velocity (transport or elutriation or entrainment or carryover) hindered settling to free settling uc = terminal velocity. Incipient transport of particles frictional wall effect on the buoyancy effect starts vessel or container is to work.

• As the superficial velocity approaches the minimum fluidising velocity (umf ). . consequently. The pressure gradient then becomes lower because of the increased voidage and. the bed starts to expand and when the particles are no longer in physical contact with one another the bed is fluidised. the weight of particles per unit height of bed is smaller (due to buoyancy effect).

particularly if there is a progressive change in flow regime as the velocity increases. • When the bed is composed of large particles. the flow will be laminar only at very low velocities and the slope of the curve may not be constant.• This fall continues until the velocity is high enough for transport of the material to take place. . and the pressure gradient then starts to increase again because the frictional drag of the fluid at the walls of the tube starts to become significant.

also using logarithmic coordinates as shown in Figure 6. -P passes through a maximum value (B) and then falls slightly and attains an approximately constant value that is independent of the fluid velocity (CD).2. a linear relation is again obtained up to the point where expansion of the bed starts to take place (A). • As the velocity is further increased.• If the pressure across the whole bed instead of the pressure gradient is plotted against velocity. . although the slope of the curve then gradually diminishes as the bed expands and its porosity increases.

attachment between particles reduces more and more until none at C Particles are just resting on one another frictional forces between particles are none P is due to s - frictional forces between frictional forces particles work to all particles when uc is between particles increased until point B decrease more and more until none at C .

. • The pressure drop (EF) across this reformed fixed bed at any fluid velocity is then less than that before fluidisation. • If the velocity is further decreased. the bed contracts until it reaches the condition where the particles are just resting on one another (E). the structure of the bed then remains unaffected provided that the bed is not subjected to vibration. • The porosity then has the maximum stable value which can occur for a fixed bed of the particles.• If the fluid velocity is reduced again.

• If the velocity is now increased again. it might be expected that the curve (FE) would be retraced and that the slope would suddenly change from 1 to 0 at the fluidising point. • In the absence of channelling. . however. • This condition is difficult to reproduce. it is the shape and size of the particles that determine both the maximum porosity and the pressure drop across a given height of fluidised bed of a given depth. because the bed tends to become consolidated again unless it is completely free from vibration.

. • Point B lies above CD because the frictional forces between the particles have to be overcome before bed rearrangement can take place. • In practice. it may deviate appreciably from this value as a result of channelling and the effect of particle-wall friction.• In an ideal fluidised bed -P corresponding to ECD is equal to the buoyant weight of particles per unit area.

2. • The two ‘best’ straight lines are then drawn through the experimental points and the velocity at their point of intersection (E) is taken as the minimum fluidising velocity. .• The minimum fluidising velocity. may be determined experimentally by measuring -P across the bed for both increasing and decreasing velocities and plotting the results as shown in Figure 6. • Linear rather than logarithmic plots are generally used. umf . although it is necessary to use logarithmic plots if the plot of pressure gradient against velocity in the fixed bed is not linear.

and the porosity set at the maximum value that can be attained in the fixed bed. • In a fluidised bed.• The theoretical value of the minimum fluidising velocity may be calculated from the equations given in Chapter 4 for the relation between pressure drop and velocity in a fixed packed bed. with the pressure drop through the bed = the effective weight of particles per unit area. . the total frictional force on the particles under condition similar to hindered settling = the effective weight of the bed.

• This relation applies from the initial expansion of the bed until transport of solids takes place. and porosity e. • where: g is the acceleration due to gravity and ρs and ρ are the densities of the particles and the fluid respectively. the additional pressure drop across the bed attributable to the layout weight of the particles is given by: •.• Thus. . in a bed of unit cross-sectional area. depth l. • P is applied to overcome friction on the particle surfaces in hindered settling.

to agglomeration which is often considerable with small particles. as a result of which the drag force acting on the bed is reduced.• There may be some discrepancy between the calculated and measured minimum velocities for fluidisation. or to friction between the fluid and the walls of the containing vessel . to the action of electrostatic forces in case of gaseous fluidisation particularly important in the case of sands. • This may be attributable to channelling.

• If flow conditions within the bed are streamline. • Substituting for −P from equation 6. for a fixed bed of spherical particles of diameter d.2 gives: •.12a) which takes the form: •. by the Carman-Kozeny equation (4. . the relation between fluid velocity uc. pressure drop (−P) and voidage e is given.1 into equation 6.

• The corresponding value of the minimum fluidising velocity (umf ) is then obtained by substituting emf into equation 6. 6.• 6.3. Minimum fluidising velocity • As the upward velocity of flow of fluid through a packed bed of uniform spheres is increased. 6. the point of incipient fluidisation is reached when the particles are just supported in the fluid.3 to give: Eq.1.4 is derived from Eq.3 using uc .

• Since equation 6.4 gives: . and hence to low values of the Reynolds number for flow in the bed. size distribution and surface properties of the particles. • In practice. this restricts its application to fine particles.4 for emf in equation 6.4 is based on the Carman–Kozeny equation. The value of emf is a function of the shape. • Substituting a typical value of 0. it applies only to conditions of laminar flow.

it is necessary to use one of the more general equations for the pressure gradient in the bed such as the Ergun equation as: • where d is the diameter of the sphere • Karman-Kozeny and Ergun equations are to correlate between P and uc. .• When the flow regime at the point of incipient fluidisation is outside the range over which the Carman- Kozeny equation is applicable.

1.Substituting e = emf at the incipient fluidisation point and for −P from equation 6. and gives: . equation 6.6 is then applicable at the minimum fluidisation velocity umf.

• where Remf is the Reynolds number at the minimum fluidising velocity and equation 6.8 then becomes: .

3 (Stoke’s law). uc = ucT 2.• Expansion of fludised bed • Beyond umf the particle separation increases with increasing fluid superficial velocity whilst the pressure loss across the bed remains constant. • For Re’<0.4 .65 • For Re’>500 (Newton’s law). • Richardson and Zaki (1954) found uc is the function f() which applied to hindered settling. In general uc = ucT n where ucT is the terminal velocity of superficial velocity. • This increase in bed voidage with fluidizing velocity is referred to as bed expansion. uc = ucT 4.

The most appropriate particle diameter to use here is the surface-volume mean.f)g/2 and dp is the particle diameter and D is the vessel diameter.• Khan and Richardson (1989) recommend the use of the following correlation for the value of exponent n over the entire range of Reynolds numbers: • where Ar is the Archimedes number dp3f(p. .

• Knowledge of the bed voidage allows calculation of the fluidized bed height as illustrated below: .

1 mm and density 2600 kg/m3.2 • Oil. is passed vertically upwards through a bed of catalyst consisting of approximately spherical particles of diameter 0. • At approximately what mass rate of flow per unit area of bed will (a) fluidisation.• Example 6. and (b) transport of particles occur? . of density 900 kg/m3 and viscosity 3 mNs/m2.

ρs = 2600 kg/m3. ρ = 900 kg/m3. e will be estimated by considering eight closely packed spheres of diameter d in a cube of side 2d (one box of width of 2d contains 8 spheres).• Solution • In this problem. .0 × 10−4 m.0 × 10−3 Ns/m2 and d = 0.1 mm = 1. • As no value of the voidage is available. Thus:. μ = 3.


Trial and error Gallileo numer .