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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
• 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 6.1.

particles can be treated as hindered settling. uc > terminal velocity uc = terminal velocity. they can be treated as free settling . Incipient transport of particles buoyancy effect starts frictional wall effect is to work. At fluidisation. At transport of particles. Incipient working in transport bed fluidised bed P is due to s - from incipient fluidisation until incipient transport of particles.

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

• When the bed is composed of large particles. .• This fall continues until the velocity is high enough for transport of the material to take place. the flow will be laminar only at very low velocities and the slope s of the lower part of the curve will be greater (1 < s < 2) and may not be constant. particularly if there is a progressive change in flow regime as the velocity increases. 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.

-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. . although the slope of the curve then gradually diminishes as the bed expands and its porosity increases. • As the velocity is further increased. also using logarithmic coordinates as shown in Figure 6. a linear relation is again obtained up to the point where expansion of the bed starts to take place (A).• If the pressure across the whole bed instead of the pressure gradient is plotted against velocity.

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 decreases more and more until none at C .

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

• In the absence of channelling. 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. . however. • This condition is difficult to reproduce.• If the velocity is now increased again. because the bed tends to become consolidated again unless it is completely free from vibration. 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.

• 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.

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.• The minimum fluidising velocity. . • The two ‘best’ straight lines are then drawn through the experimental points and the velocity at their point of intersection is taken as the minimum fluidising velocity. umf .2. • Linear rather than logarithmic plots are generally used. 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. with the pressure drop through the bed = the effective weight of particles per unit area.• 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.

• This relation applies from the initial expansion of the bed until transport of solids takes place.• In a fluidised bed. depth l. • Thus. the additional pressure drop across the bed attributable to the layout weight of the particles is given by: • . in a bed of unit cross-sectional area. and porosity e. the total frictional force on the particles under condition similar to hindered settling = the effective weight of the bed. • where: g is the acceleration due to gravity and ρs and ρ are the densities of the particles and the fluid respectively. .

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

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

1.3 to give: Eq.3. the point of incipient fluidisation is reached when the particles are just supported in the fluid.4 is derived from Eq. 6. • The corresponding value of the minimum fluidising velocity (umf ) is then obtained by substituting emf into equation 6. Minimum fluidising velocity • As the upward velocity of flow of fluid through a packed bed of uniform spheres is increased.• 6. 6.3 using uc .

it applies only to conditions of laminar flow.4 is based on the Carman–Kozeny equation.4 for emf in equation 6.• Since equation 6. this restricts its application to fine particles. and hence to low values of the Reynolds number for flow in the bed.4 gives: . The value of emf will be a function of the shape. size distribution and surface properties of the particles. • Substituting a typical value of 0. • In practice.

• When the flow regime at the point of incipient fluidisation is outside the range over which the Carman-Kozeny equation is applicable. 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 .

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

8 then becomes: .• where Remf is the Reynolds number at the minimum fluidising velocity and equation 6.

of density 900 kg/m3 and viscosity 3 mNs/m2. is passed vertically upwards through a bed of catalyst consisting of approximately spherical particles of diameter 0.2 • Oil. and (b) transport of particles occur? . • At approximately what mass rate of flow per unit area of bed will (a) fluidisation.1 mm and density 2600 kg/m3.• Example 6.

μ = 3.• Solution • In this problem. • As no value of the voidage is available. 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). Thus:. ρs = 2600 kg/m3.1 mm = 1. .0 × 10−3 Ns/m2 and d = 0.0 × 10−4 m. ρ = 900 kg/m3.