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CFD Application in

Fixed Bed Reactor Internals

Subhasish Mitra
M.Tech Scholar
Department of Chemical Engineering
IIT Kanpur
Computational Fluid Dynamics:
A reliable tool when modeling and
simulating flow and heat transfer
phenomena for designing process
equipment without performing an
actual experiment.

In the last decade, CFD has been


considered as a powerful tool to
help chemical engineering
development [1, 2].

1. Trambouze, P., 1996. CFD applied to process engineering. Revue de l'Institut Français du
Pétrole 51 2, pp. 199–203
2. Kuipers, J.A.M. and van Swaaij, W.P.M., 1997. Application of computational fluid dynamics to
chemical reaction engineering. Review in Chemical Engineering 13 3, pp.1–118
Brief Background:
 Multi-bed down-flow catalytic reactors are used in
petroleum & petrochemical industries for hydrotreating,
hydrodesulfurisation, hydrofinishing and hydrocarcking
purposes.

 Process liquid is mixed with gas and passed through the


packed catalyst beds.

 Hot spots may generate inside the reactor if uniform flow


pattern is not ensured.

 Reactor internals are provided for collecting and mixing


liquid & gas exiting from one bed before distribution to
the next bed.
CFD by FVM – basics:
Cell

Face
Steady state transport equation
of scalar quantity Ф:

FVM discretized linear form Finite volume domain


Basic Governing Equations: [5]

Volume fraction conservation

Gas phase continuity equation

Liquid phase continuity equation

Gas phase momentum equation

Liquid phase momentum equation

5. CFD simulation of hydrodynamics of valve tray, Chemical Engineering and Processing 48


(2009) 145–151,Xin Gang Li, De Xin Liu, Shi Min Xu, Hong Li
Equations (Contd) [5] :
M: Interphase momentum exchange term
Cd: Drag coefficient
d: gas bubble diameter
V: Velocity
Schiller Noumann Correlation
for drag coefficient ρ: Density

Cd = 24/[Rep(1+0.15Rep0.687)] g: Gravity constant


α:volume fraction
µ:viscosity
Rep: Particle Reynolds Number
G & L refers to gas & liquid phase
respectively.

5. CFD simulation of hydrodynamics of valve tray, Chemical Engineering and Processing 48


(2009) 145–151,Xin Gang Li, De Xin Liu, Shi Min Xu, Hong Li
Schematic sketch of the fixed bed
reactor & the distributor: [3]
Row of
Nozzles

3. United States Patent No US 7,473,405 B2, Kemoun et al, Jan 6, 2009.


Eulerian simulation details:
CFD simulation has been carried out to observe the flow pattern
of gas and liquid flow inside the nozzle using Euler-Euler
approach.

In the Euler-Euler approach, the different phases are treated


as interpenetrating continua.

Since the volume of a phase cannot be occupied by the other


phases, the concept of phasic volume fraction is introduced.

Mesh:
Rectangular grid. Nozzle geometry is decomposed into three distinct
fluid zones i.e. gas, liquid and mixture to track each zone distinctly.
Standard k-ε turbulence model:
(Launder and Spalding, 1972) [4]

•This two equation model includes


two extra transport equations to
represent the turbulent properties
of the flow.

•The first transported variable is


turbulent kinetic energy (k) which
determines the energy in turbulence.

• The second transported variable


is the turbulent dissipation (ε) which
determines the scale of the
turbulence.
[Ref 4]

4. Introductory Fluent notes, Fluent v6.1, Feb 2003.


Standard k-ε turbulence model
(Contd):

ρ:density, µ:viscosity, µt: turbulent viscosity, k: turbulent


kinetic energy, ε: turbulent dissipation rate, Gk: turbulence
generation term
Simulation parameters (E-E):
Type 1 nozzle geometry Outer dia: 8.12 mm, Inner dia: 4.8 mm, Gas & Liquid
inlet slot dia: 2.5 mm, Throat dia:5.4 mm
Type 2 nozzle geometry Outer dia: 20 mm, Inner dia: 10 mm, Gas & Liquid
inlet slot dia: 5 mm, Throat dia:8 mm, Nozzle outlet:
12 mm
Solver 2D, Unsteady state
Multiphase Eulerian-2 phase
Turbulence model, Drag model k-ε (standard), Schiller Naumann
Material Air, Water
Discretization scheme & Pressure First order upwind, SIMPLE
Velocity coupling
Boundary conditions Gas Inlet:
velocity : 1m/sec, Gas vol frac:1
Turbulence Intensity : 5%
Liquid Inlet:
velocity : 0.25 m/sec, Liq vol frac:1
TI : 2%
Outlet : Pr : 0 barg, Turbulence Intensity : 5%
Wall : No slip
CFD simulation of Nozzle [3](Fig 2):
-Schematic & CFD (air/water) volume fraction contour

3. United States Patent No US 7,473,405 B2, Kemoun et al, Jan 6, 2009.


CFD simulation of Nozzle [3](Fig 2):
-Schematic & CFD (air/water) velocity magnitude contour

3. United States Patent No US 7,473,405 B2, Kemoun et al, Jan 6, 2009.


CFD simulation of Nozzle [3](Fig 3): -
Schematic & CFD (air/water) volume fraction contour

3. United States Patent No US 7,473,405 B2, Kemoun et al, Jan 6, 2009.


CFD simulation of Nozzle [3](Fig 3):
-Schematic & CFD (air/water) velocity magnitude contour

3. United States Patent No US 7,473,405 B2, Kemoun et al, Jan 6, 2009.


Discrete Phase simulation basics:

• Used to simulate a second discrete phase consists of spherical


particles (represents droplets or bubbles).

• Calculates discrete phase trajectory using a Lagrangian


formulation that includes the discrete phase inertia,
hydrodynamic drag, and the force of gravity.

•dispersed (volume fraction <10%) in the continuous phase.

•The model is used to understand the flow characteristic at


nozzle tip, which follows a spray pattern in the inter catalyst
bed space.
Simulation parameters (E-L):
Continuous field Air

Turbulence model k-ε (standard) 2 equations

Air velocity 15 m/sec

Turbulent intensity, hydraulic diameter 5%, 0.225 m

Species transport model Diesel and air mixture

Discrete phase model Interaction with continuous phase: Enabled


Update DPM sources every flow iterations: Enabled
Unsteady particle tracking: Enabled

Particle time step size : 0.001


Max steps: 500, Step length factor : 5
Drag model: dynamic drag

Spray model : droplet collision & break-up


Break up model : TAB
Break up constants : y0 = 0, parcels:2
Atomization principle:

Liquid is accelerated through narrow pathway


inside the nozzle. It then emerges from the orifice
as a thinning sheet, which is unstable and breaks
up into ligaments and subsequently into droplets.
Taylor Analogy Breakup Model:

• Taylor’s analogy between a oscillating & distorting droplet


and spring mass system.

• Restoring force of spring surface tension force

• External force droplet drag force

• Damping force droplet viscosity force

• Parent droplet breaks up into number of child droplets


when oscillation grow to a critical value (Wecrit).
Stochastic tracking – DRW Model:
• Predicts turbulent dispersion of particles by integrating the
trajectory equation for individual particles using
instantaneous velocity.

• Includes random effect of turbulence of particle dispersion


by comparing trajectory for sufficient number of particles.

• Velocity components are discrete piecewise constant


functions of time.

• Random value of velocity components is kept constant


over an time interval by the characteristics life time of
eddies.
Spray pattern at nozzle tip:
-CFD simulation of particle residence time (Diesel droplet/Air
mixture)
Thanks for your attention!