Numerical study of a liquid/liquid slug flow in a micro-reactor



The great advantages of micro–reactors are associated with an extremely high surface–to–volume ratio. Hence, micro–reactors permit promising operating conditions, such as almost perfect heat or mass transfer. The hydrodynamics of a liquid/liquid slug flow in a micro–channel is characterized by complex vortex structures in both the disperse and the continuous phase. The disperse phase, in our investigations, is not wetting the walls and, thus, a thin film of the continuous phase persists between the disperse phase and the wall. Due to this phenomenon, a relative movement between disperse and continuous phase is possible and, indeed, observed. Understanding of these complex phenomena allows for a control of the hydrodynamics, and thus, to tailor the heat and mass transport in a desired manner. To study the physics of this complex liquid/liquid system, a modified level–set method in conjunction with an immersed–boundary formulation is engaged. The mesh resolution represents a challenge, as the spatial resolution has to resolve the thin film between the disperse phase and the wall adequately. All simulations are implemented within the software OpenFOAM. (© 2012 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)