Powder Technology, Vol.189, No.2, 202-217, 2009
Comparison of fibre optical measurements and discrete element simulations for the study of granulation in a spout fluidized bed
Spout fluidized beds are frequently used for the production of granules or particles through granulation. The products find application in a large variety of applications, for example detergents, fertilizers, pharmaceuticals and food. Spout fluidized beds have a number of advantageous properties, such as a high mobility of the particles, which prevents undesired agglomeration and yields excellent heat transfer properties. A discrete element model is used describing the dynamics of the continuous gas phase and the discrete droplets and particles. For each element momentum balances are solved. The momentum transfer among each of the three phases is described in detail at the level of individual elements. The results from the discrete element model simulations are compared with local measurements of time time-averaged particle volume fractions as well as particle velocities by using a novel fibre optical probe in a fluidized bed of 400 mm I.D. Simulations and experiments were carried out for three different cases using Geldart B type aluminium oxide particles: a freely bubbling fluidized bed; a spout fluidized bed without the presence of droplets and a spout fluidized bed with the presence of droplets. It is found that the experimental and numerical results agree in a qualitative manner. It is demonstrated how the discrete element model can be used to obtain information about the interaction of the discrete phases, i.e. the growth zone in a spout fluidized bed. Additional analysis of the numerical results indicates that liquid breakthrough does not take place for the studied test case. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.