• population balance theory;
  • method of characteristics;
  • dispersed phases;
  • particulate flows;
  • two-phase flow


This paper presents a new numerical method for solving the population balance equation using the modified method of characteristics. Aggregation and break-up are neglected but the density function variations in the three-dimensional space and its dependence on the external fields are accounted for. The method is an interpretation of the Lagrangian approach. Based on a pre-specified grid, it follows the particles backward in time as opposed to forward in the case of traditional method of characteristics. Unlike the direct marching method, the inverse marching method uses a fixed grid thus, making it compatible with other numerical schemes (e.g. finite-volume, finite elements) that may be used to solve other coupled equations such as the mass, momentum, and energy conservation equations. The numerical solutions are compared with the exact analytical solutions for simple one-dimensional flow cases. Very good agreement between the numerical and the theoretical solutions has been obtained confirming the validity of the numerical procedure and the associated computer program. Copyright © 2003 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.