The effect of bed materials on the solid/bubble motion in a fluidised bed

Xianfeng Fan, David Parker, Zhufang Yang, Jonathan Seville, Jan Baeyens

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32 Citations (Scopus)


Gas fluidisation provides good mixing and contact of the gas and particle phases as well as good heat transfer. These attractive features are achieved by the high degree of bubble-induced particle circulation within the bed. Bubble and particle motion vary with bed materials and operating conditions, as investigated in the present study, by the use of the non-intrusive positron emission particle tracking (PEPT) technique. The selected materials were spherical polyethylene and glass particles. The data obtained by the PEPT technique are used to determine the particle velocities and circulation pattern. Bubble rise velocities and associated sizes can be inferred from the particle velocity data, since particles travel upwards mostly in the bubble wake. The results indicate that the flow structure and gas/solid motion within the fluidised beds were significantly different, even at the same value of the excess gas velocity, U - U-mf The solid circulation pattern within the beds differ: if for glass beads, a typical UCDW-pattern existed (upwards in the centre of the bed, downwards near the wall), the pattern in the polyethylene bed is more complex combining a small zone of UWDC movement near the distributor and a typical UCDW-pattern higher up the bed. Transformed data demonstrate that at the same value of excess gas velocity, U - U-mf, the air bubbles in the polyethylene fluidised bed were smaller and rose more slowly than in the fluidised bed of glass beads, thus yielding a longer bubble residence time and improved gas/solid contact. For polyethylene beads, the size and rise velocity of air bubbles did not increase monotonically with vertical position in the bed as would be predicted by known empirical correlations, which however provide a fair fit for the glass beads data. Bubble sizes and solid circulation patterns are important parameters in the design of a fluidised bed reactor, and vary with the bed material used. (c) 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)943-950
Number of pages8
JournalChemical Engineering Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008


  • particle motion
  • bubbles
  • polyethylene
  • fluidisation
  • glass beads


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