• conical fluidized bed;
  • solid velocity;
  • slip boundary conditions;
  • numerical simulation;
  • drag models

The hydrodynamic performance of micrometric TiO2 particles has been experimentally studied in a conical fluidized bed and the results compared with numerical simulations. Local solid velocities in the bed have been measured by means of an optical fiber technique under different operating conditions of particle loading and air velocity. The radial profiles of axial solid velocities have been simulated to assess the sensitivity of grid size, and different drag models, namely, those by Syamlal and O'Brien, Ahmadi and Ma, Arastoopour et al., and Gidaspow, for no-slip, partial-slip, and free-slip boundary conditions (BCs). The different drag models record almost similar results, but those provided by the Gidaspow and Ahmadi–Ma models, together with free-slip BCs, are in somewhat better agreement with the experimental data for conical fluidized beds with smooth walls. © 2013 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 59: 4502–4518, 2013