Chemical Engineering Science, Vol.63, No.22, 5522-5530, 2008
Direct numerical simulations of mass transfer in square microchannels for liquid-liquid slug flow
Microreactors for the development of liquid-liquid processes are promising technologies since they are supposed to offer an enhancement of mass transfer compared to conventional devices due to the increase in the surface/volume ratio. But impact of the laminar flow should be negative and the effect is still to be evaluated. The present work focuses on the study of mass transfer in microchannels by means of 2D direct numerical simulations. We investigated liquid-liquid slug flow systems in square channel of 50-960 pm depth. The droplet velocity ranges from 0.0015-0.25 m/s and the ratio between the channel depth and the droplet length varies between 0.4 and 11.2. Droplet side volumetric mass transfer coefficients were identified from concentration field computations and the evolution of these coefficients as a function of the flow parameters and the channel size is discussed. This study reveals that mass transfer is strongly influenced by the flow structure inside the droplet. Moreover, it shows that the confinement of the droplets due to the channel size leads to an enhancement of mass transfer compared to cases where the droplets are not constrained by the walls. (c) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.