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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Hydrodynamics, stability and scale-up of slot-rectangular spouted beds Chen, Zhiwei


Slot-rectangular spouted beds, with rectangular cross-section and slotted gas inlets, have been proposed as a solution to overcoming scale-up difficulties with conventional axisymmetric spouted beds. They can be utilized in gas/particle processes such as drying of coarse particles and coating of tablets. However, application of this spouted bed was limited because of instability and insufficient hydrodynamic studies. The present work is therefore aimed at the study of hydrodynamics, stability and scale-up of slot-rectangular spouted beds. The hydrodynamic study was carried out in four slot-rectangular columns of various width-to-thickness ratios combined with various slot configurations, particles of different properties and a range of operating conditions. Hydrodynamics of slot-rectangular spouted beds showed major similarity with conventional spouted beds. However, equations and mechanistic models adopted from conventional axisymmetric spouted beds generally failed to provide good predictions for the three-dimensional slot-rectangular geometry. New empirical correlations were derived for the minimum spouting velocity and maximum pressure drop for different slot configurations. Slot-rectangular spouted beds also showed more flow regimes than conventional spouted beds. Nine flow regimes, as well as unstable conditions, were identified based on frequency and statistical analysis of pressure fluctuations. Slot geometrical configuration was found to be the main factor affecting the stability of slot-rectangular spouted beds. A comprehensive hydrodynamic study on the effect of slot configuration was therefore carried out. Slots of smaller length-to-width ratio, smaller length and greater depth were found to provide greater stability. Stable criteria for the slot configuration were found consistent with the conventional axisymmetric spouted beds with extra limitation on slot length-to-width ratio and slot depth. Local distributions of pressure, particle velocity and voidage, as well as spout shape and particle circulating flux, were compared for different slot configurations. Higher slot length-to-width ratios lead to slightly higher particle circulation rates. A previously proposed scale-up method involving multiple chambers was tested in the present work using multiple slots. Instability caused by the merging of multiple spouts and asymmetric flow was successfully prevented by suspending vertical partitions between the fountains. Some criteria and guidelines were also proposed for scale-up using multiple chambers.

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