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AIChE Journal, Vol.66, No.5, 2020
A CFD-based design scheme for the perforated distributor with the control of radial flow
In the present study, flow homogenization by distributors in chemical apparatus is studied as a process of flow control and its mechanism is reconsidered from the model of resistance to the model of radial flow. This process is composed of four consecutive behaviors: the generation, distribution, conversion of the radial flow and the momentum transfer of axial flow. Based on these flow behaviors, the novel distributor is designed as the combination of perforated plate in the center area and vertical guiding baffles around. Taking the wire-screen catalytic reactor as a case study, numerical simulation is employed to optimize the structure of distributor and a CFD-based design scheme called "flow field analysis scheme" is proposed. Numerical simulation is conducted in the apparatus with a diffuser (inlet D-0 = 500 mm, main part D-1 = 3,000 mm) under the gas velocity of 3.6 m/s (corresponding Re approximate to 12,000). The numerical results from optimized distributor show that compared with the traditional perforated plate, the flow field adjusted by the novel distributor can achieve a better flow uniformity with lower energy consumption. The theoretical analysis and numerical results are also validated and proved by the experimental results.