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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Tube erosion in fluidized beds Zhu, Jingxu (Jesse)


Heat transfer tubes suffer erosion when immersed in fluidized beds. This has caused problems, especially in fluidized bed combustors. The mechanism of erosion for horizontal tubes in fluidized beds is not well understood. The purpose of this study was to investigate the erosion mechanism in fluidized beds and to investigate the influence of operating parameters and the mechanical properties of the particles and tube materials. Horizontal tube erosion tests were carried out in a room temperature three-dimensional fluidized bed with a cross-section of 216 mm by 203 mm and height of 1.52 m. Sample rings of ten different materials were mounted on a solid bar and were weighed before and after each test to determine the erosion rate. The parameters tested were particle size (0.30 to 1.51 mm), particle sphericity (0.84 to 1.0), particle density, particle hardness, superficial air velocity (0.88 to 2.52 m/s), tube diameter (15 mm to 32 mm), tube configuration and material mechanical properties. Two additional types of experiments were also conducted to help understand the mechanism of erosion. In one particles were dropped freely in an empty column to impact on test specimens at different velocities determined by the dropping distance, in order to investigate erosion due to solid particle impact under known conditions. In the other the particle movement was filmed in the vicinity of a horizontal tube in a two-dimensional fluidized bed in order to investigate the particle flow pattern around a tube. A small number of tests were also conducted at high temperatures. The erosion of a horizontal tube in fluidized beds was found to be caused mainly by the impact of solid particles on the lower surface. Erosion was found to be strongly dependent on the particle impact velocity, which is closely related to the void (bubble or slug) rise velocity. The void rise velocity, in turn, is determined by the mean void size which depends on the superficial air velocity, column size and other fluidizing conditions. Particle diameter also has a strong influence on erosion. The target material Young's modulus appears to be the major mechanical property which is closely related to the erosion rate caused by solid impact erosion. Of the materials tested, all non-ferrous metals suffer much more erosion than ferrous metals. Localized high particle velocities due to jets and at bends or near feed points can be extremely harmful. The mechanism of erosion caused by low velocity (< 6m/s) solid particle impacts appears to be different than that caused by high velocity (> 30m/s) impacts reported in the literature, although there are some similarities in trends. The erosion at low impact velocities appears to be mainly due to a surface fatigue process, which, instead of plastically deforming a small amount of target material for every impact, deforms the target materials in the elastic range and causes them to crack on or underneath the surface leading to removal of materials.

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