NUMERICAL STUDY OF THE HYDRODYNAMICS AND MASS TRANSFER IN THE EXTERNAL LOOP AIRLIFT REACTOR Scientific paper
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The objective of this study was to investigate the hydrodynamics and the gas-liquid mass transfer coefficient of an external-loop airlift reactor (ELAR). The ELAR was operated in three cases: different inlet velocities of fluids, different alcohols solutions (water, 0.5% methanol, 0.5% ethanol, 0.5% propanol and 0.5% butanol) and different concentration of methanol in solutions (0%, 0.5%, 1%, 2% and 5%). The influence of superficial gas velocity and various diluted alcohol solutions on hydrodynamics and the gas-liquid mass transfer coefficient of the ELAR was studied. Experimentally, the gas hold-up, liquid velocities and volumetric mass transfer coefficient values in the riser and the downcomer were obtained from the literature source. A computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model was developed, based on two-phase flow, investigating different liquids regarding surface tension, assuming the ideal gas flow, applying the finite volume method and Eulerian-Eulerian model. The volumetric mass transfer coefficient was determined using the CFD and artificial neural network model. The effects of liquid parameters and gas velocity on the characteristics of the gas-liquid mass transfer were simulated. These models were compared with the appropriate experimental results. The CFD model successfully simulates the influence of different alcohols regarding the number of C-atoms on hydrodynamics and mass transfer.
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