442035 Scaling Liquid Flow through Packed Beds from the Laboratory to the Commercial Plant

Monday, April 11, 2016: 10:30 AM
338 (Hilton Americas - Houston)
Akash Basu1, Anas Zaki2, Bor-Yea Hsu3 and Jonathan H. Worstell1, (1)Chemical Engineering, University of Houston, Houston, TX, (2)Chemical Engineering, Prairie View A&M University, Prairie View, TX, (3)Worstell and Worstell, Consultants, Richmond, TX

In 1952, Sabri Ergun published an article reconciling all the data pertaining to flow through packed columns at that time.  The equation presented in that paper has since become known as the Ergun equation.  It has been used with varying degrees of success since its publication.  The Ergun equation has various problems.  First, it uses a Reynolds number based on particle diameter, not fluid conduit diameter.  Thus, the Reynolds number used in the Ergun equation does not describe fluid flow.  Second, the Ergun equation was developed for spheres.  However, myriad odd-shaped packing exists; thus, the Ergun equation must be modified when using non-spherical packing.  That modification is generally encapsulated in a dimensionless “sphericity factor” … a cheat factor, in other words.  Third, the Ergun equation violates geometric similarity, thus it cannot be used for scaling up or scaling down.

            In this paper, we address these problems via Dimensional Analysis.  We use Dimensional Analysis to formulate a new method for characterizing liquid flow through packed columns; i.e., for characterizing filtration.  We also propose a new method for characterizing the packing material.  Since our results obey the laws of similarity, our analysis can be used for up scaling and down scaling filtration units. This method is applicable to liquid flow through packed beds in chemical plants as well as oil flow through fractured rock.

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See more of this Session: Pilot Plants and Scaling up
See more of this Group/Topical: Topical 2: Innovations in Process Research and Development