UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

CFD simulation of two- and three-phase flow in FCC reactors Ahmadi Motlagh, Amir Hossein


Liquid distribution and evaporation in Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) reactors are investigated numerically. The well-documented inaccuracy of conventional two-fluid modeling of hydrodynamics in fluidized beds of Geldart Group A particles is revisited. A new force-balance (FB) sub-grid-scale model, introduced and applied to the conventional Wen-Yu drag correlation, analyzes the balance of van der Waals, drag, gravity and buoyancy forces. It predicts formation of agglomerates inside the bed, updating the drag calculations by applying a correction factor to the conventional drag models. Good predictions are obtained of fluidization regimes and bed expansion, and there is promising agreement with experimental time-average radial voidage profiles reported by Dubrawski et al. (2013). Good quantitative agreement between discrete element models (DEM) and two-fluid predictions of minimum bubbling velocity is also observed when the model is used to predict minimum bubbling velocity, in contrast to the predictions from a non-cohesive, Wen-Yu model. Liquid injection experiments on a lab-scale fluidized bed were conducted, at the Institute of Chemical and Fuels from Alternative Sources (ICFAR) in London, Ontario to study the distribution, as well as the penetration, of liquid into catalyst pores. The results shed light on complexities involved in the injection zone to understand the effect of superficial gas velocity on evaporation and imbibition of liquid into particle pores. A methodology is developed to couple and incorporate existing liquid imbibition (into particle pores) models with evaporation models in the CFD code. The results are compared to another set of lab-scale experiments conducted at the British Columbia Research Institute (BCRI) facilities in Burnaby, BC. Simulation results demonstrate that CFD models can capture correct qualitative behavior of liquid injection and evaporation inside the bed. However, quantitative deviations revealed the likely effect of hydrodynamic properties on drying from both the liquid film around the particles and inside the pores. The deviations also imply that the assumption of convection- or diffusion-dominant drying might be unsuitable, and the two should be combined. Based on experimental results, a methodology is proposed to include the effect of hydrodynamic properties such as superficial gas velocity and particle impact velocity on drying.

Item Citations and Data


Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada