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Miguel A.

Granero

Experiment 3

30/01/2013
Miguel A. Granero

Experiment 3:

Report on Flow through a


granular bed
Experiment completed on the 24th January 2013

The relationship between the Reynolds number and


the friction factor can be determined by studying the
flow rates and differences in pressures through two
different granular beds. The conclusions will provide
information on the size and shape of the beds for the
optimal development of the desired chemical reaction.

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Experiment 3

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Table of contents:

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Introduction
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S000925090500549X
In chemical processing, a packed bed is a hollow tube, pipe, or other vessel that is filled with a
packing material. The packing can be randomly filled with small objects like Raschig rings or else it
can be a specifically designed structured packing. Packed beds may also contain catalyst particles or
adsorbents such as zeolite pellets, granular activated carbon, etc.
The purpose of a packed bed is typically to improve contact between two phases in a chemical or
similar process. Packed beds can be used in a chemical reactor, a distillation process, or ascrubber,
but packed beds have also been used to store heat in chemical plants. In this case, hot gases are
allowed to escape through a vessel that is packed with a refractory material until the packing is hot.
Air or other cool gas is then fed back to the plant through the hot bed, thereby pre-heating the air or
gas feed.
The application of heterogeneous catalysis gives rise to a variety of reactor types. Of
those, the packed bed reactors belong to the most widely applied reactors, their
popularity originating from their effectiveness in terms of performance as well as low
capital and operating costs. The reactants flowing through a packed bed reactor can be
both in the form of gas or liquid. In numerous applications both phases are present.
However, a study of single-phase flow is of particular interest to this work since it is not
only essential for single-phase applications, but also constitutes the basis for studying
two-phase flow through packed beds as discussed in part 2 of this work ( Nemec and
Levec, 2005).
The shape and size of catalyst particles that make up the bed are determined by the
characteristics of the process in question. As a general rule, the particle size and shape
should aim at high effectiveness, so as to utilize the catalyst materials and reactor
volume and therefore increase the bed activity (Worstell, 1992). For practical reaction
rates as apply to most processes and typical diffusivities in gas-filled pores of catalysts,
diffusion limitation will generally occur with particles having a diameter of a few
millimeters (Sie and Krishna, 1998). In catalytic processes where liquid is present, the
catalyst pores are likely to be filled with the liquid and low diffusivity in the liquid phase
may even increasing the likelihood of diffusion limitation. In the case of porous solid
catalysts, by far the largest portion of catalytically active surface area consists of pore
walls. For a given conversion rate, the external surface determines the flux density for
diffusion of reactants to the catalytic surface inside the volume of catalyst particle.
Therefore, the specific surface (ratio between the external surface area and the volume
of the particles) of the catalytic bed has to be as high as possible so that, as a
consequence, a smaller reactor volume is then required. By decreasing the size of
particles the specific surface area of the bed can be increased, however, there exists a
limit to the minimum size of the catalyst particle determined by the acceptable overall
pressure drop through the bed. Another option to enlarge the surface to volume ratio can
be done by introducing different shapes of particles (cylinders, rings, etc.) since by doing
so the effective particle size remains relatively unchanged. Especially for liquid phase
processes extrudates with a clover leaf cross-section (polylobed), namely trilobes and

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quadrolobes, are often used since they offer a greater surface to volume ratio than
cylindrical extrudates of the same maximal outside diameter and also retain their
advantage in liquid phase operation (Sie, 1993).
However, it has to be kept in mind that differently shaped particles also pack with
different degrees of bed porosity, which results in different pressure drops as well as
different overall bed activities. As a rough rule it is said that the bed porosity increases
the more the shape of particles deviates from the spherical shape. This problem can be
met to some degree with the use of loading techniques, which give higher bed densities
(Wooten, 1998). Obviously, the comparison of efficiency of different particles is not
straightforward as the choice of the appropriate shape and size of the catalyst particles
as well as the loading technique will be determined by the specific transport and kinetic
characteristics of a given process. Cooper et al. (1986), for example, provided a clear
picture of the interplay in choosing the optimum catalyst shape, size and packing
procedure for a specific system, considering two possible hydroprocessing conditions.
Two additional criteria, namely the strength of the catalyst particles and their
manufacturing cost also need to be taken into account in determining the appropriate
particle shape (Sie and Krishna, 1998).
The considerations regarding the optimum structure of packed bed reactors are complex,
therefore a systematic study is needed if we are to find a model or correlation for
predicting single-phase flow pressure drop of any practical value as no shape and size of
particles constituting the packed bed as well as loading technique can be ruled out. The
goal of the present work was therefore to study the effect of particle shape and size, and
bed loading technique on the single-phase pressure drop in packed beds, find an
appropriate model, and test it with a wide variety of available experimental data as well
as by comparing it to other existing approaches.

2. Modeling single-phase flow through packed beds


The modeling of flow through porous media is one of the oldest subjects of interest to
engineering in general and still continues to attract the interest of engineers and
researchers alike due the complexity of the modeling involved (Liu and Masliyah, 1996).
However, the modeling can be considerably simplified if one is to consider a
homogeneous porous medium where the possible porosity does not vary a lot and a
uniform flow distribution within the bed can be assumed. This in general is the case
encountered in (commercial) packed bed reactors, which are made up of roughly uniform
particles in terms of both shape and size, where the possible porosity span encountered
is relatively narrow (0.35<<0.55), and the wall effect is negligible.
Basically flow through packed beds can be modeled by analogy with flow in pipes when
the bed porosity is uniform throughout the bed and below 0.6 (Dullien, 1992, Liu and
Masliyah, 1996 and Punoch and Draho, 2000). The pressure drop through packed
beds is the result of frictional losses characterized by the linear dependence upon the
flow velocity and inertia characterized by the quadratic dependence upon the flow
velocity (Forchheimer effect). Adding these two contributions results in the well-known

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Ergun equation (Ergun, 1952), which can also be written in dimensionless form in terms
of modified Reynolds and Galileo numbers as follows (Niven, 2002)
(1)
Ergun (1952) had shown that the above equation fitted data for spheres, cylinders, and
crushed solids over a wide range of flow rates within acceptable engineering accuracy. In
order to check the functional dependency upon bed porosity he also varied the packing
density for some materials to verify the (1-)2/3term for the viscous loss part and the (1)/3 term for the kinetic energy part. Note that a small change in porosity has a large
effect on the pressure drop, which makes it difficult to predict the latter accurately and to
reproduce experimental values after a bed is repacked. Despite all the problems, Ergun
determined the constant for the viscous term (often referred to as BlakeKozeny
Carman constant) to be 150 and the constant for the inertial term (Burke
Plummer constant) to be 1.75.
It is now generally accepted that satisfactory predictions of pressure drop in packed beds
can be done with the use of simple semi-empirical models like the Ergun equation.
However, this is only true for infinitely extended packed beds composed of particles that
do not differ much in shape from that of spheres. Should this not be the case, corrections
to the Ergun equations should be applied and this can usually be done by modifying the
constants of the viscous and inertial terms as discussed in the following section.

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Theory
The porosity of granular bed, defined as the volume of empty space between the particles, will be
used to determine the friction coefficient of the two different granular beds that are going to be
studied. The larger the porosity of a material is, the higher the flow of liquid that can go throug

ht

it is as there is more empty space through which liquids can flow.

Volume of empty spacethe bed


Total volume occupied by the bed

Where both volumes need to be in the same unit so that

. Is dimensionless.

In this experiment, pressure differences will be recorded using a two-fluid manometer which is a
relatively dense pink-red fluid which fills a the lower part of an U-shaped tube with a less dense fluid
lying on top on both sides. In both parts of our experiment this lighter was water.

When the there is no flow, the manometer levels are equal on both sides.
However, when a flow is created, the manometer levels on both sides become unequal and the
difference of pressure can be obtained by recording the difference in the height of the coloured
heavier fluid. This is the reason why the fluid needs to be coloured, so that it is possible to record
height differences. The difference in pressure is given by the equation:

P+ m gh= w gh
P= ( m w ) gh= pgh
Where:
Pw is the density of water in Kg/m3
Pm is the density of the heavier fluid in the manometer in Kg/m3
g is the acceleration of gravity = 9.81 m/s2
h is the height different between both interfaces of the U-shaped tube filled zith the heavier
fluid and is measured in m.

The results obtained are only applicable when water is flowing through a bed containing only one siwe
of particles. This causes the results of be of a limited use as they can not be used in other calculations
treating a flow of water going through a different bed used in the experiment. Therefore, they can
neither be used for granular beds in other liquids other than water norfor granular beds of different
height or diameter. Another case that would make the equation useless is when the shape or

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diameter of the particles in the bed is not the same. This caused engineers to investigate other ways
of presenting the data in order to be able to analyse a much wider range of different bed sizes. This
eventually led to the Reynolds number and the friction coefficient factor.

It is important to highlight the dimensionless property of the Reynolds number


and the friction coeffiecient factor was verified as they are going to be used
throughout the experiment.

p w Qd d
u A(1 )

Where:
Pw is the density of water in Kg/m3
D is the average size of the particles in m.
A is the crosssectional area of the column in m2
u is the viscosity of liquid flowing through in the granular bed in Kg s-1m-1
Q is the flowrate measured in m3/s

accounts for the error and is dimensionless

Putting the units in the equation yields,


3

Kg m
Kg m
.
.
m
3
m s
s
=
=
= Dimensionless
Kg
2
Kg
.m
.m
m. s
s

As it can be appreciated, all the units cancel out.

Similarly, for the friction coefficient friction coefficient:

f=

d 3 A 2 P
p w ( 1 ) . L . Q 2

Where

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Pw is the density of water in Kg/m3


D is the average size of the particles in m.
P is the pressure difference in Pa or Kg/m/s2
L is the height of the granular bed in m
A is the crosssectional area of the column in m2
u is the viscosity of liquid flowing through in the granular bed in Kg s-1m-1
Q is the flowrate measured in m3/s

accounts for the volume of empty space in the bed and is dimensionless

Therefore,

Kg
m Kg
2
ms
s2
f=
=
= Dimensionless
4
Kg
m 3 m Kg
. m. 2
s2
m3
s
2

m m2

This will be useful to then compare and relate the friction coefficient factor to the Reynolds number.

Firstly, the taller and thinner bed was studied by changing the water flow rate, as
well as analysing and plotting the pressure differences (measured with the
rotameters) in a granular bed on a log-log graph in order to later the Reynolds
number and the friction coefficient factor for flow through a granular bed.
Secondly, the same steps were done for the shorter and wider bed.

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Apparatus and experimental procedure


A photograph of the apparatus and its corresponding schematic diagram

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The water flow


The water stored in the tank under the table is pumped with the aid of an
electrical pump powered by electricity. The fluid is then split into two conducts
which contain a valve each (labelled A,left, and B, right). After going through the
valves, both conducts merge again and go up to the highest point of the set up
where another valve is located. This one is to select which route or bed is the
water going to flow through.
If the valve is set with the handle on the left, the water will flow in that direction
into the taller and thinner bed. There is a manometer which connects the top
and the bottom of the bed (SEE THEORY) and it measures the pressure difference
between both parts . The water exits the bed in the bottom and merges with the
other conduct from the unused side. Before going back to the water tank and
being recycled, the water goes upwards again and there is an exhaust so that
water vapour and other gases can exit the system.
If the valve is set to the right, the water will flow in this direction through a
similar circuit. The only thing that changes is the bed, which in this case is wider
and shorter and the particles in it are larger.

The Procedure
Firstly, the valves F G A and H must be closed and the liquid in the manometer
needs to be in equilibrium (when the height difference between the two
interfaces is 0). More importantly, the direction of valve H needs to be checked
to make sure that the water will flow into the right bed, the one that is going to
be analysed.
Valves A and B are gently opened. This causes the rotameter to move along the
tube. When the metallic piece is stable on both A and B valves we can open the
F and G valves if we are using the left bed in the schematic diagram, or the F1
and G1 valves if the bed that is going to be analysed is on the right side.
The height difference in the manometer is recorded and the value on the A and B
valves is checked to make sure it has not changed after opening the other set of
valves (this is also to make sure that the valves have not moved as they are
extremely sensible).
The set of A and B valves are closed, flow rate is zero and then the valves F and
G or F1 and G1 depending on which bed is being used are closed when the
coloured fluid in the manometer is in equilibrium (height difference is zero).
This procedure is repeated to obtain more figures in order to have the largest
possible range of data.
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Finally, the valves A and B are closed, then the valves F and G as well as the F1
and G 1 ones are closed. Then the pump can be turned off.
The data obtained with the experiment is the following:
-

Reading on valves A and B measured in centimetres


Height difference between the two interfaces of the manometer, also
measured in cm.

Next to the table are two Rotameter calibration graphs that allow the conversion
of the height of the rotameters A and B into flowrates. Here is a photograph of
the graphs.

Graph 1

Graph 2

This graph corresponds to valve A.


Its vertical axis is the tube reading and is
in centimetres and its horizontal axis is
the flowrate of water at 20C in
Litres/minute.

This graph corresponds to valve B.


Its vertical axis is the tube reading
and is in centimetres and its
horizontal axis is the flowrate of water
at 20C in Litres/minute.

The label at the top states the valve to


which it refers: Calibration for water.
Metric X series tube 7X. Stainless steel
float type S size 7. d: 7.60 mm and w:
2.48 gm.

The label at the top states the valve


to which it refers: Calibration for
water. Metric X series tube 10X.
Stainless steel float type S size 10. d:
10.00 mm and w: 5.75 gm.

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Conversion from tube reading to flowrate examples;


1) Only valve A is open.
Read the value in the tube. Eg. 15.00cm
Using graph 1, get the horizontal coordinate of the point which intersects
the line of the graph with the horizontal line at 15.00 on the vertical axis.
In this case it would be 0.45 L/min which is the total flowrate as valve B is
closed.
2) Only valve B is open:
Read the value in the tube. Eg. 18.00cm
Using graph 2m get the horizontal coordinates of the point which
intersects the line of the graph with the horizontal line at 18.00 on the
vertical axis. In this case it would be 0.93 L/min which is the total flowrate
as valve A is closed.
3) Both valves are open:
Read the values in both tubes: Eg. 10cm for tube corresponding to valve A
and 14cm for tube corresponding to valve B.
Using graph 1, get the horizontal coordinate of the point which intersects
the line of the graph with the horizontal line at 10.00 on the vertical axis.
In this case, the flowrate allowed by valve A would be 0.33 L/min. Using
graph 2 get the horizontal coordinates of the point which intersects the
line of the graph with the horizontal line at 14.00 on the vertical axis. In
this case it would be 0.77 L/s which is the flowrate allowed by valve B. The
total flowrate will be the sum of flowrate A + flowrate B = 0.33 + 0.77 =
1.10 L/min
Then, the total flowrate results were converted into SI units using the following
method:

1L
d m3 min
m3
=1
.
.
min
min 60 s 10000 d m 3 = 0.000016 m3/s
Eg. 2.5 L/min = 4.16*10-5 m3/s
Furthermore, the height difference recorded from the manometer is used to get
the pressure difference:

P= ( m w ) g h
(X)
Eg. Pressure difference for the first recording where the height difference is
0.4cm with the taller and thinner bed.

P=(15601000)

9.81 . 0.40 . 10-2 = 21.97 Pa

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Results
First part of the experiment: the thin and tall bed.
When only valve A is open:
Height
difference
(cm)

Pressur Valve A
Valve B
Flow
Flow
Total
Total
e
reading reading rate A
rate B
Flow
Flow in
differen (cm)
(cm)
(L/min)
(L/min)
(L/min m3/s >
ce (Pa)
)
10-5
0.40
21.97
2.7
0.13
0.13
0.208
0.80
43.95
5.7
0.21
0.21
0.35
1.00
54.94
9
0.28
0.28
0.448
0.90
49.44
11.6
0.35
0.35
0.560
1.40
76.91
13.2
0.4
0.4
0.64
1.70
93.39
15.5
0.46
0.46
0.736
1.80
98.88
17.2
0.51
0.51
0.816
2.00
109.87
17.8
0.525
0.53
0.848
2.60
142.83
21.0
0.62
0.62
0.992
3.20
175.80
24.6
0.72
0.72
1.15
3.40
186.78
25.8
0.77
0.77
1.232
Given that only valve A is open, the total flowrate ( sum of the separately
converted readings of valves A and B) is equql to the flowrate through valve A.

Height
difference
(cm)

Pressure
differen
ce (Pa)

Valve A
reading
(cm)

Valve B
reading
(cm)

Flow
rate A
(L/min)

Flow
rate B
(L/min)

Total
Flow
(L/min)

Total
Flow in
m3/s
> 10-5
1.6
1.73
2.11
2.00
2.48

5.4
296.65
18.6
1.00
1.00
5.6
307.64
19.9
1.08
1.08
7.3
401.03
23.7
1.32
1.32
6.7
368.07
23.4
1.25
1.25
10
549.36
29
1.55
1.55
Given that only valve B is open, the total flowrate ( sum of the separately
converted readings of valves A and B) is equql to the flowrate through valve B.

Height
difference
(cm)

Pressure
differen
ce (Pa)

Valve A
reading
(cm)

Valve B
reading
(cm)

Flow
rate A
(L/min)

Flow
rate B
(L/min)

Total
Flow
(L/min)

Total
Flow
in
m3/s
> 10-

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4.0
219.74
26.2
10.3
0.75
7.6
417.51
19.5
12.8
0.58
15.6
857.00
27.9
24.3
0.42
16.7
917.43
24.0
27.8
0.70
16.8
922.92
22.4
28.3
0.65
Given that both valves str open, the total flowrate will
separately converted readings of valves A and B.

0.57
1.32
0.70
1.28
0.82
1.24
1.45
2.15
1.55
2.20
be the sum of the

5
2.11
2.05
1.984
3.44
3.52

Eg. Calcultating total flowrate.


Reading of valve A: 19.5cm
in L/min): 0.58 L/min

Converted reading of valve A (flowrate

Reading of valve B: 12.8cm


in L/min): 0.70 L/min

Converted reading of valve B (flowrate

Total flowrate: 0.58 + 0.70 = 1.28 L/min = 1.28/60/1000 m3/s = 2.05 10-5 m3/s

Eg. Pressure difference for the first recording where the height difference is
0.4cm with the taller and thinner bed.

P=(15601000)

9.81 . 0.40 . 10-2 = 21.97 Pa

Plotted graph of change in pressure against flow rate.

Bed 1 Pressure difference against flowrate


1000
900
800
700
600
Pressure difference (Pa)

500
400
300
200
100
0
0

0.5

1.5

2.5

3.5

Flowrate in m3/s . 10-5

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Reynolds numbers for Bed 1

Pressure
difference
21.97
43.95
54.94
49.44
76.91
93.39
98.88
109.87
142.83
175.80
186.78
296.65
307.64
401.03
368.07
549.36
219.74
417.51
857.00
917.43
922.92

Flowrate
0.208
0.35
0.448
0.560
0.64
0.736
0.816
0.848
0.992
1.15
1.232
1.6
1.73
2.11
2.00
2.48
2.11
2.05
1.98
3.44
3.52

Reynolds
number
7.48
12.59
16.11
20.14
23.02
26.47
29.35
30.49
35.68
41.36
44.31
57.54
62.22
75.88
71.93
89.19
75.88
73.72
71.21
123.71
126.59

Friction factor

Eg. Calculation of Reynolds number:


Substituting in the equation the values to adapt the equation to bed 1
using the labels on the top of the bed (size of the particles = 0.9529 . 10-2
and diameter of the bed = 6.35 10-2) ,

p w Qd d
u A(1 )
(2)

Kg
1000 3 Qd 0.9829. 102
m
=
=3596343.842 Qd
2 2
3 ( 6.35. 10 )
10
(10.137)
4

For a flowrate, Qd of 1.1 * 10-5 in bed 1 for example, the Reynolds number
would be
Re = 3596343.842 . 1.1 10-5 = 39.56

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Thin long bed


Height
differen
ce
(cm)
1.9

Pressur
e
differen
ce (Pa)
19.75

Valve A
reading
(cm)

Valve B
reading
(cm)

Flow
rate A
(L/min)

Flow
rate B
(L/min)

Total
Flow
(L/min)

4.5

0.18

0.18

Total
Flow in
m3/s >
10-5
0.30

3.7

38.47

10.5

0.33

0.33

0.55

6.5

67.59

15.8

0.48

0.48

0.80

7.6
79.03
20.1
0.58
0.58
0.96
11.1
115.42
28.7
0.83
0.83
1.38
Given that only valve A is open, the total flowrate ( sum of the separately
converted readings of valves A and B) is equal to the flowrate through valve A.
The Total flowrate is calculated in the exactly same way as with the other , taller
and thinner, bed.
However, the density of the bed is not the same. This time it is 1103Kg/m3.
Therefore, for the first reading :

P=(11 0 61000)

9.81 1.9 10-2 = 19.76 Pa

Height
Pressur Valve A Valve B Flow
Flow
Total
Total
differenc e
reading reading rate A
rate B
Flow
Flow in
e
differen (cm)
(cm)
(L/min) (L/min) (L/min)
m3/s >
(cm)
ce (Pa)
10-5
11.4
118.54
15.5
0.85
0.85
1.42
15.3
159.10
20.9
1.05
1.05
1.75
18.5
192.37
24.3
1.35
1.35
2.25
20.7
215.25
27.2
1.45
1.45
2.42
23.8
247.49
29
1.55
1.55
2.58
Given that only valve B is open, the total flowrate ( sum of the separately
converted readings of valves A and B) is equal to the flowrate through valve B.

Height
difference
(cm)

Pressur
e
differen
ce (Pa)

Valve A
reading
(cm)

Valve B
reading
(cm)

Flow
rate A
(L/min)

Flow
rate B
(L/min)

Total
Flow
(L/min)

29.1
31.1
34.2

302.60
323.40
355.63

21.8
22.3
26.0

24.2
26.9
29.0

0.64
0.65
0.75

1.3
1.45
1.55

1.94
2.10
2.30

Total
Flow
in
m3/s
> 10-5
3.23
3.50
3.83

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Given that only valve B is open, the total flowrate (sum of the separately
converted readings of valves A and B) is equal to the flowrate through valve B.

Bed 2 Pressure difference agains flowrate


400
350
300
250
Pressure difference (Pa)

200
150
100
50
0
0

0.5

1.5

2.5

3.5

4.5

Flowrate in m3/s . 10-5

18 | P a g e