Gas–liquid two-phase flow through packed beds in microgravity



Experimental data on flow pattern transitions, pressure drop, and flow characteristics for cocurrent gas–liquid flow through packed columns in microgravity is analyzed. The pulse flow regime exists over a wider range of gas and liquid flow rates under microgravity conditions. Furthermore, maps used to predict transition boundaries in normal gravity do not apply in microgravity. The flow regime data are compared to the widely used Talmor map and a new transition criterion between bubble and pulse flow in microgravity is proposed. The pressure-drop data clearly show that interfacial effects can increase the pressure drop by as much as 300% compared to those predicted by the single-phase Ergun equation. A two-phase friction factor is correlated to the superficial gas and liquid Reynolds numbers and the Suratman number. New data are also presented on the influence of gravity on the pulse amplitude and frequency.