• fixed bed;
  • computational fluid dynamics;
  • heat transfer;
  • flow through sphere packs;
  • wall effects


A study is presented of the relationship between the local flow field and the local wall heat flux in a packed bed of spheres. Computational fluid dynamics is used as a tool for obtaining the detailed velocity and temperature fields, for gas flowing through a periodic wall segment test cell. Results from the wall segment are demonstrated to reproduce those obtained from a full bed of spheres with tube-to-particle diameter ratio of N = 4. Attempts to correlate the local wall heat flux with local properties of the flow field, such as velocity components, velocity gradients, and components of vorticity, led to the conclusion that local heat transfer rates do not correlate statistically with the local flow field. Instead, a conceptual analysis was used to suggest that local patterns of wall heat flux are related to larger-scale flow structures in the bed. © 2004 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 50: 906–921, 2004