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Ejector Modeling in HYSYS

Bruce Eng
April 27, 2009


An ejector is a piece of equipment which combines a low pressure stream (called the suction
stream) and a high pressure stream (called the motive stream) to form a stream of intermediate
pressure (called the discharge stream).

When first encountered the idea of an ejector might seem trivial. After all, the analogous
operation with temperature, adding a hot stream and a cold stream to form a medium temperature
stream, only requires a pipe. However pressure difference determines flow direction, so without
some equipment, a low pressure stream will not flow towards a higher pressure region.

An ejector solves this problem by changing the velocity of the stream. Actually pressure
difference doesn’t determine flow direction, but rather it represents a force, which as stated by
Newton, causes acceleration. This is the idea behind Bernoulli’s principle:

P1 v12 P v2
+ + h1 g = 2 + 2 + h2 g
ρ 2 ρ 2

From this equation, it is evident that P2 can be larger than P1 if the initial point is higher than the
destination (flow does an inclined pipe), or if the outlet velocity is lower than the inlet velocity.

A typical ejector is shown above. The top flange is the inlet for the high pressure motive stream.
This stream is forced into a small nozzle and then expanded so the pressure decreases to a low
pressure which will be referred to as the mixing pressure, Pmix. At the same time, the velocity of
the stream increases. From the bottom flange, a low pressure suction stream is introduced.
Assuming that its pressure is slightly higher than Pmix it will flow towards the high velocity motive
stream. As it makes contact with the high pressure stream, it will be pulled along and accelerate.
As its velocity increases, its pressure will decrease to Pmix. The two streams will also combine as
the suction pressure stream becomes entrained in the motive stream. Then, after the two streams
have mixed, the ejector begins to open out in what is known as the diffuser section. In this
section, the velocity decreases and the pressure increases to an intermediate value.

An ejector is an integral part of many processes. The paper industry commonly uses ejectors. The
milk industry relies on them to help drive evaporation at vacuum pressure. It has also been
proposed to use ejectors in an efficient form of air conditioning. For all of these applications, the
process engineer would like to be able to calculate the possible discharge pressure and
temperature for given suction and motive streams.

For the process engineer, the detailed dimensions, materials, and controllability of the ejector are
of secondary importance to understanding how the ejector will affect the flows, temperatures, and
pressures of the process. Therefore this paper will ignore any of the sizing or controllability issues
of the ejector and instead focus on the process.
One Dimensional Model

The ejector process is simplified into a one dimensional model consisting of a couple of steps.

Step 1: Expanding the Motive Stream

The motive stream is expanded from Pmotive to Pmix. Preferably this expansion would be isentropic,
but in practice that is not achievable. Instead the expansion occurs with a given adiabatic
efficiency ηmotive.

To find the expanded condition:

Smotive = fEOS(Hmotive, Pmotive) The equation of state is used to look up the initial entropy.

Hideal = fEOS(Smotive, Pmix) The EOS is used to look up ideal enthalpy.

2 2
v motive_ out v motive_ in
= η motive ⋅ ( H motive − H ideal ) + → v motive_ out = 2 ⋅ η motive ⋅ ( H motive − H ideal ) + v motive_ in Most

2 2
of the energy from the expansion goes to increase the velocity.

Hmotive_real = (1- ηmotive)·(Hmotive-Hideal) + Hideal

The energy which doesn’t increase the velocity increases the enthalpy.

Step 2: Expanding the Suction Stream

The suction stream is also expanded with an efficiency of ηsuction from Psuction to Pmix.

Hsuction_real and vsuction_out are found using the same method as in step 1.

Step 3: Constant Pressure Mixing

After both the motive stream and the suction stream have been expanded to the mixing pressure,
both streams combine forming an outlet stream with a new velocity and a new enthalpy. It is
assumed that momentum and energy are both conserved in this process.

m motive vmotive _ out + m suction v suction _ out = ( m motive + m suction ) ⋅ v mix →

m motive v motive _ out + m suction v suction _ out conservation of momentum
v mix =
( m motive + m suction )
2 m m o tivve m2 o tive_ o u t + 12 m su ctiovn su2 ctio _n o u t + m m o tivH
e m o tiv e+ msu c tio H
 n su ctio n=

2( m m o tiv e+ m su c tio n) ⋅ vm2 ix + ( m m o tiv e+ m su ctio n) ⋅ H m ix →
2 mm o tivve m o tiv_e o u t + 2 ms u ctiovn su ctio _n o u t − 2 ( mm o tiv e+ msu c tio n) ⋅ v m ix + mm o tiveH m o tive+ msu c tio H
1  2 1  2 1  2
   n su c tio n
H m ix =
( m m o tive+ m su c tio n)
conservation of energy

Step 4: Supersonic Shock

In many processes the optimal ejector design has internal supersonic flows. If the mixed velocity
is supersonic then the flow will pile up somewhere along the length of the mixing section and
then form a supersonic shock wave. After the shock wave the flow will be subsonic at a higher
pressure and different temperature. The reality of this process is complex, but for modeling
purposes, we will assume that it is governed by four equations: conservation of energy,
conservation of momentum, continuity, and a relationship between density and enthalpy and
pressure given by an equation of state.

v mix ⋅ ρmix ⋅ A = v postshock ⋅ ρ postshock ⋅ A

Continuity (conservation of mass)

v mix ( ρmix ⋅ A ⋅ v mix ) + Pmix ⋅ A = v postshock ( ρ postshock ⋅ A ⋅ v postshock ) + Ppostshock ⋅ A

Conservation of momentum at constant cross sectional area

( m m o tiv+e m s u c tio) n⋅ ( 12 vm2 ix+ H m i x) = ( m m o tiv+e m s u c tio) n⋅ ( 12 v 2p o s ts h o +c k H p o s t s h o)c k

Conservation of energy

ρ postshock = f EOS ( H postshock , Ppostshock )

Equation of state

These four equations can be solved by guessing a value of vpostshock and then using the continuity
equation to find ρpostshock and then using the momentum equation to find Ppostshock and then using the
energy equation to find Hpostshock and then calculating another value for ρpostshock using the equation
of state. If the two calculated densities are not equal then the guess for vpostshock must be updated.
There should be multiple solutions, but the one with vmix = vpostshock is only correct if the original
velocity was subsonic. To determine if the flow was subsonic, the speed of sound can be
calculated as v sound = which is easily done with an equation of state.

Step 5: Compression in the Diffuser Section

Finally the post shock subsonic flow is expanded in the diffuser section. The pressure increases as
the velocity decreases. The process deviates from isentropic compression by an efficiency ηdiffuser.
To find the outlet condition:

Spostshock = fEOS(Hpostshock, Ppostshock) The equation of state is used to look up the initial entropy.

Hideal = Hpostshock + ηdiffuser·1/2·(vpostshock2-voutlet2)

Poutlet = fEOS(Spostshock,Hideal)

Most of the energy from the velocity goes into compression

Houtlet_real = (1- ηmotive)· 1/2·(vpostshock2-voutlet2) + Hideal

The energy which doesn’t cause compression increases the enthalpy.

At this point the outlet pressure and enthalpy is known which was the goal of this model.
HYSYS Simulation

An ejector model can be created in HYSYS using the following flowsheet:

All the conditions including flowrate of the motive stream and suction stream are set. In addition
the pressure of the expanded motive stream is set (to Pmix) and a set block is used to set the
expanded suction stream to this same pressure.

The “ejector calc” spreadsheet does all of the mixing and supersonic shockwave calculations.
wexp anded
The motive velocity (cell B2) is calculated as v motive = 2 ⋅ . This comes from the
 motive
formula for kinetic energy solved for v. The term wexpanded is imported from the HYSYS expander
and represents the work output by an expander operating with a given adiabatic efficiency. This is
equivalent to step 1 of the 1-D model.

The suction velocity (cell B6) is calculated in a similar fashion. This is equivalent to step 2 of the
1-D model.

The mixed velocity (cell B7) is calculated from the formula

m motivev motive _ out + m suctionv suction _ out
vmix = . Then the incoming kinetic energy (cell B8) and outgoing
( m motive + m suction )
kinetic energy (cell B9) are calculated and their difference (cell B10) is assumed to be dissipated
as heat which is added by the heater “E-mix”. This is equivalent to step 3 of the 1-D model.

The majority of the spreadsheet is devoted to finding the post shock wave velocity using the
procedure described in step 4 of the 1-D model. Guesses for v are made using bisection with the
maximum velocity assumed to be 99.5% of the original velocity and the minimum velocity
assumed to be 10% of the original velocity. Each guessed v is the average of the maximum and
the minimum velocity. Depending on the sign of the error between the two density calculations,
either vmax_next = vguess or vmin_next = vguess. The depicted sheet uses 12 iterations to solve the equations
of step 4. Each iteration needs an equation of state calculation which is the reason for the multiple
streams (iteration1 – iteration12).

This approach takes quite a bit of typing in the HYSYS spreadsheet. It is left as an exercise to the
reader to develop a HYSYS flow sheet which uses a recycle to perform this iterative calculation.

Finally the kinetic energy left for compression in the diffuser section is calculated as
1/2·(msuction+mmotive)·(vpostshock2-voutlet2) where voutlet is assumed to be 0. This is used to set the power
for the last HYSYS compressor. This is equivalent to step 5 of the 1-D model.

Rating Cases

This HYSYS ejector simulation does a decent job of modeling a possible ejector process.
However this ejector is only applicable is the design case. It does not include sizing data which is
necessary for rating calculations. Ejectors are known to be particularly poor at operating away
from design conditions. This is because the velocity and pressure profile inside the ejector is
determined by the pressure of the feeds and the sizing of the ejector internals. When the velocities
differ from design values, there is no guarantee that constant pressure mixing will occur. In
addition, entrained fluids may reseparate leading to instability. Many times multiple ejectors are
placed in parallel if heavy turn down is going to be required. Consult a vendor for more


This ejector simulation has four parameters that need to be specified in addition to the inlet stream
conditions. These are the mixing pressure (Pmix), the motive fluid expansion efficiency (ηmotive), the
suction fluid expansion efficiency (ηsuction), and the diffuser compression efficiency, (ηdiffuser). A
good guess for the efficiencies is between 80% - 90% with 83% being a typical value. The mixing
pressure is process dependent. Typically the mixing pressure is chosen (by trial and error) in order
to maximize the outlet pressure.

Chemical Engineering and Processing 41 (2002) 551–561

Evaluation of steam jet ejectors
Hisham El-Dessouky*, Hisham Ettouney, Imad Alatiqi, Ghada Al-Nuwaibit

Energy Conversion & Management 41 (2000) 1841-1849

Investigation of ejector design at optimum operating condition
E.D. Rogdakis*, G.K. Alexis

Desalination 222 (2008) 639–645

Experience of design and optimization of multi-effects desalination systems in Iran
R.K. Kamali*, S. Mohebinia

Fundamentals of Compressible Fluid Dynamics

By P. Balachandran
Section 9.3.3