Gas holdup of rotating foam reactors measured by γ-tomography—effect of solid foam pore size and liquid viscosity


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Rotating foam reactors have already shown to give high mass transfer rates compared to stirred tank reactors. For a deeper insight into the hydrodynamics of these reactors, the hydrodynamics of rotating foam reactors were studied using γ-ray tomography. The two-phase flow through the foam block stirrer is mainly influenced by the solid foam pore size and the liquid viscosity. For low viscosity, the optimal foam block pore size was identified in the range between 10 and 20 pores per inch (ppi). With smaller pore size, the gas holdup inside the foam block strongly increases due to bubble entrapment. For higher viscosity, pore sizes larger than 10 ppi have to be used to achieve a sufficient liquid flow rate through the foam block to avoid a strong gradient over the reactor height. The effect of the hydrodynamics on the gas–liquid and liquid–solid mass transfer and the reactor performance are discussed. © 2012 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 59: 146–154, 2013