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Keywords:

  • CFD;
  • immobilized photocatalyst;
  • photocatalysis;
  • water treatment;
  • annular reactor

Abstract

A computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model for the simulation of immobilized photocatalytic reactors used for water treatment was developed and evaluated experimentally. The model integrated hydrodynamics, species mass transport, chemical reaction kinetics, and irradiance distribution within the reactor. The experimental evaluation was performed using various configurations of annular reactors and ultraviolet lamp sizes over a wide range of hydrodynamic conditions (350 < Re < 11,000). The evaluation showed that the developed CFD model was able to successfully predict the photocatalytic degradation rate of a model pollutant in the analyzed reactors. In terms of hydrodynamic models, the results demonstrated that the laminar model performs well for systems under laminar flow conditions, whereas the Abe-Kondoh-Nagano low Reynolds number and the Reynolds stress turbulence models give accurate predictions for photoreactors under transitional or turbulent flow regimes. The performed analysis confirmed that degradation rates of organic contaminants in immobilized photocatalytic reactors are strongly limited by external mass transfer; as a consequence, the degradation prediction capability of the CFD model is largely determined by the external mass transfer prediction performance of the hydrodynamic models used. © 2010 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2011