Chemical Engineering Science, Vol.157, 2-14, 2017
Characterising gas behaviour during gas-liquid co-current up-flow in packed beds using magnetic resonance imaging
Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging techniques have been used to study gas phase dynamics during co-current up-flow in a column of inner diameter 43 mm, packed with spherical non-porous elements of diameters of 1.8, 3 and 5 mm. MR measurements of gas hold-up, bubble-size distribution, and bubble-rise velocities were made as a function of flow rate and packing size. Gas and liquid flow rates were studied in the range of 20-250 cm(3) s(-1) and 0-200 cm(3) min(-1), respectively. The gas hold-up within the beds was found to increase with gas flow rate, while decreasing with increasing packing size and to a lesser extent with increasing liquid flow rate. The gas hold-up can be separated into a dynamic gas hold-up, only weakly dependent on packing size and associated with bubbles rising up the bed, and a static hold-up which refers to locations within the bed associated with temporally-invariant gas hold-up, over the measurement times of 512 s, associated either with gas trapped within the void structure of the bed or with gas channels within the bed. This static gas hold-up is strongly dependent on packing size, showing an increase with decreasing packing size. The dynamic gas hold-up is comprised of small bubbles of order of the packing size which have rise velocities of 10-40 mm s(-1) and which move between the packing elements within the bed, along with much larger bubbles, or agglomerates of bubbles, which move with higher rise velocities (100-300 mm s(-1)). These larger bubbles, which may exist as streams of smaller bubbles or amoeboid bubbles, behave as a single large bubble in terms of the observed high rise velocity. Elongation of the bubbles in the direction of flow was observed for all packings. (C) 2016 Published by Elsevier Ltd.