• trickle-bed reactor;
  • liquid flow texture;
  • three-region model;
  • liquid–solid wetting efficiency correlation

A three-region model was proposed, which considers the bed cross section being composed of a stagnant liquid region, a liquid film region, and a rivulet flow region. To estimate the fractions of the three regions, the fraction of film flow was evaluated first, by transforming the complex trickling flow texture into pure liquid film flow. Through the measurements of liquid holdup and pressure drop for the film flow, a relationship between relative permeability and gas saturation was established, and from which the fraction of film flow region was obtained. It shows packing size is most important to the faction of rivulet flow. The external wetting efficiency of the packing was correlated as the sum of two-third power of the liquid film fraction and the rivulet flow fraction, besides, a correlation based on Reynolds and Galileo numbers of the two phases in the form of inline image was proposed. © 2012 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 59: 283–294, 2013