Chemical Engineering Science, Vol.60, No.22, 6118-6123, 2005
Analysis of gas holdup in bubble columns with non-Newtonian fluid using electrical resistance tomography and dynamic gas disengagement technique
This paper presents an experimental analysis of the influence of the liquid rheology on the gas flow pattern in a bubble column reactor. Aqueous solutions of xanthan are selected as an example of non-Newtonian shear thinning fluid. Averaged gas holdup is determined by two experimental techniques: parietal pressure probes and electrical resistance tomography (ERT). ERT is also used to provide 2D images of the gas phase distribution in a column cross-section. Bubble size distributions are evaluated by a gas disengagement technique using the parietal pressure probes. All these techniques clearly show the gas flow pattern is different in Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids. Gas holdup values decrease when increasing the liquid viscosity and reach a minimum or a plateau. Homogeneous flow regime, observed in water at low gas velocities, tends to disappear when viscosity increases. This evolution is visualized by a much less isotropic distribution of the gas phase within cross-section of the column and by the appearance of much larger bubbles due to an increased coalescence phenomenon. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.