Experimental measurements and multiphase flow models in solid SiC foam beds



Solid foam matrices have been recently introduced and present a highly permeable porous structure with a high porosity (0.60–0.95), which enables a considerably reduction of the pressure drops along the catalyst bed even with a high specific surface area. It appears today that despite the hydrodynamics of trickle-bed reactors operating with conventional packings (spheres, extrudates, monoliths, etc.) has become largely documented in the recent literature, trickle-bed hydrodynamic behaviour with solid foam packings, on the contrary, largely remains terra incognita. In this context, two phases flows (air–water) in solid foams under cocurrent trickle flow conditions were analyzed in a fixed-bed at ambient conditions. From Residence Time Distribution (RTD) curves, a new set of experimental data based on the hydrodynamics parameters (pressure drop and liquid holdup) of solid foams are presented. A model based on a cubic lattice approach developed in previous work is used to calculate the equivalent diameter for solid foam packings. Finally, through the modified Eötvös number and the relative permeability concept, the two-phase pressure drop and liquid holdup are well estimated. These news results are important parameters for the design of new process in trickle flow conditions with solid foam packing. © 2008 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2008