Chemical Engineering Science, Vol.84, 449-468, 2012
Micromechanical modeling and analysis of different flow regimes in gas fluidization
The micromechanics of different particle-fluid flow regimes, such as fixed, expanded and fluidized beds, in gas fluidization is investigated for group A and B powders. To establish the connection between macroscopic and microscopic descriptions of complex particle-fluid flows, focus is given to the following two aspects: the formation of a stable expanded bed in relation to the interparticle cohesive, sliding and rolling frictional forces, and the correlation between coordination number (CN) and porosity (epsilon). The method employed is the combined approach of three-dimensional (3D) discrete element method (DEM) and two-dimensional (2D) computational fluid dynamics. The results show that compared to 2D DEM, 3D DEM is more reliable in investigating the micromechanics of granular media, although both can capture key features of different flow regimes. The roles of various forces between particles and between particles and fluid are examined, and the origin of different flow regimes is discussed. It is shown that the cohesive force is critical to the formation of a static expanded bed, while the sliding and rolling frictional forces also play a role here. The criterion for bed expansion is analyzed at bulk and particle scales, and the deficiency at a bulk scale is identified. CN, as a key measure of local structure, is analyzed. It is found that the CN-epsilon relationship for group A powders has a transitional point between the expanded and fluidized bed flow regimes at a bulk scale, unlike group B powders. A new phase diagram is established in terms of CN-epsilon relationship that has two branches representing expanded and fluidized (bed) states, which corresponds to the one in terms of interparticle forces. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords:Fluidization;Computational fluid dynamics;Discrete element method;Granular materials;Microstructure;Simulation