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Volume-of-fluid-based model for multiphase flow in high-pressure trickle-bed reactor: Optimization of numerical parameters

Authors

  • Rodrigo J. G. Lopes,

    1. GERSE—Group on Environmental, Reaction and Separation Engineering, Dept. of Chemical Engineering, University of Coimbra, Rua Sílvio Lima, Polo II–Pinhal de Marrocos, 3030-790 Coimbra, Portugal
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  • Rosa M. Quinta-Ferreira

    Corresponding author
    1. GERSE—Group on Environmental, Reaction and Separation Engineering, Dept. of Chemical Engineering, University of Coimbra, Rua Sílvio Lima, Polo II–Pinhal de Marrocos, 3030-790 Coimbra, Portugal
    • GERSE—Group on Environmental, Reaction and Separation Engineering, Dept. of Chemical Engineering, University of Coimbra, Rua Sílvio Lima, Polo II–Pinhal de Marrocos, 3030-790 Coimbra, Portugal
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Abstract

Aiming to understand the effect of various parameters such as liquid velocity, surface tension, and wetting phenomena, a Volume-of-Fluid (VOF) model was developed to simulate the multiphase flow in high-pressure trickle-bed reactor (TBR). As the accuracy of the simulation is largely dependent on mesh density, different mesh sizes were compared for the hydrodynamic validation of the multiphase flow model. Several model solution parameters comprising different time steps, convergence criteria and discretization schemes were examined to establish model parametric independency results. High-order differencing schemes were found to agree better with the experimental data from the literature given that its formulation includes inherently the minimization of artificial numerical dissipation. The optimum values for the numerical solution parameters were then used to evaluate the hydrodynamic predictions at high-pressure demonstrating the significant influence of the gas flow rate mainly on liquid holdup rather than on two-phase pressure drop and exhibiting hysteresis in both hydrodynamic parameters. Afterwards, the VOF model was applied to evaluate successive radial planes of liquid volume fraction at different packed bed cross-sections. © 2009 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2009

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