CFD analysis of laboratory scale phase equilibrium cell operation

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Abstract

For the modeling of multiphase chemical reactors or separation processes, it is essential to predict accurately chemical equilibrium data, such as vapor-liquid or liquid-liquid equilibria [M. Šoóš et al., Chem. Eng. Process.: Process Intensif. 42(4), 273-284 (2003)]. The instruments used in these experiments are typically designed based on previous experiences, and their operation verified based on known equilibria of standard components. However, mass transfer limitations with different chemical systems may be very different, potentially falsifying the measured equilibrium compositions. In this work, computational fluid dynamics is utilized to design and analyze laboratory scale experimental gas-liquid equilibrium cell for the first time to augment the traditional analysis based on plug flow assumption. Two-phase dilutor cell, used for measuring limiting activity coefficients at infinite dilution, is used as a test case for the analysis. The Lagrangian discrete model is used to track each bubble and to study the residence time distribution of the carrier gas bubbles in the dilutor cell. This analysis is necessary to assess whether the gas leaving the cell is in equilibrium with the liquid, as required in traditional analysis of such apparatus. Mass transfer for six different bio-oil compounds is calculated to determine the approach equilibrium concentration. Also, residence times assuming plug flow and ideal mixing are used as reference cases to evaluate the influence of mixing on the approach to equilibrium in the dilutor. Results show that the model can be used to predict the dilutor operating conditions for which each of the studied gas-liquid systems reaches equilibrium.

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Original languageEnglish
Article number105110
JournalReview of Scientific Instruments
Volume88
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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