A new fluid distribution system for scale-flexible expanded bed adsorption

JJ Hubbuch, A Heeboll-Nuelson, TJ Hobley, Owen Thomas

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16 Citations (Scopus)


A new fluid distribution system designed for expanded bed adsorption was introduced and studied in a 150-cm diameter column. Based on fluid application through a rotating distributor, it eradicates the need for perforated plates, meshes, or local mixers. The effect of rotation rate on column performance was examined by fluidizing a 30-cm high bed of supports with tap water and introducing pulses of dye or acetone tracer. Linear bed expansion was seen as the superficial fluid velocity was raised from 170 x h(-1) to 450 cm x h(-1) (3000 L x h(-1) to 8000 L x h(-1)), and there was little change in expansion characteristics as distributor rotation rate was increased from 2.5 to 10 rpm. The distributor was observed to generate a flow pattern suitable for expanded bed adsorption when the supports were fluidized at a superficial fluid velocity of 283 cm center dot h(-1) and dye pulses introduced. At a rotation rate of 2.5 rpm, no significant dead zones were observed, and a discrete band was formed that moved up through the bed. Furthermore, the pattern of dye movement could be used to calculate interstitial linear fluid velocities of 460 cm x h(-1) and 572 cm x h(-1) at the column wall and center, respectively, indicating a parabolic flow profile. The distributor rotation rate giving the best operating conditions was found to be 2.5 rpm when the bed was fluidized at a flow velocity of 283 cm x h(-1) and the residence time distribution of acetone tracer examined. Under these conditions, the coefficient of axial dispersion was 6.1 x 10(-6) m(2) x s(-1) and 29 theoretical plates were measured. When the rotation rate was raised to 10 rpm, the coefficient of axial dispersion increased to 8.08 x 10(-6) m(2) x s(-1) and the number of theoretical plates decreased to 22.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-43
Number of pages9
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2002


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