CFD modeling of single-phase flow in a packed bed with MRI validation



Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations are becoming increasingly widespread with the advent of more powerful computers and more sophisticated software. The aim of these developments is to facilitate more accurate reactor design and optimization methods compared to traditional lumped-parameter models. However, in order for CFD to be a trusted method, it must be validated using experimental data acquired at sufficiently high spatial resolution. This article validates an in-house CFD code by comparison with flow-field data obtained using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for a packed bed with a particle-to-column diameter ratio of 2. Flows characterized by inlet Reynolds numbers, based on particle diameter, of 27, 55, 111, and 216 are considered. The code used employs preconditioning to directly solve for pressure in low-velocity flow regimes. Excellent agreement was found between the MRI and CFD data with relative error between the experimentally determined and numerically predicted flow-fields being in the range of 3–9%. © 2012 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2012