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Three phase hydrodynamics of Pachuca tank reactor

P. Letinsk, M. Vee, K. Wichterle

VSB-Technical University of Ostrava, tr. 17. Listopadu 15, 708 33, Ostrava-Poruba, Czech
Republic, tel: +420597324230, e-mail: pavel.lestinsky.st@vsb.cz
Equipments where contact of three phases (gas, liquid, solid) takes place are widely
used in chemical industry, typically when extraction or fermentation is performed. Reactors
with inner loop, airlift reactor or Pachuca tank reactor are the synonyms for such apparatuses.
Setup with cylindrical vessel with conical bottom and concentric draft tube (see fig1) is
typical for all those cases.
Nowadays, when waste management is treated as an
important secondary resource of raw materials, such three
phase reactors are suitable for extraction of important
compounds from various slurries. Agitation of suspensions is
based on creating one zone in the draft tube of the reactor
through which gas rises; this creates simultaneously a
density difference between the gas-liquid-solid (riser) zone
and the liquid-solid (downcomer) zone; circulation of the
liquid and solid phases through both zones is induced by this
density difference. The circulation results in efficient
suspension of heavy sediments in the liquid and therefore
intensive mixing and mass transfer of all three phases
throughout the reactor.
Proposed paper is focused on experimental study of
three phase hydrodynamics in a pilot scale Pachuca tank.
The basic quantity characterizing performance of a Pachuca
tank is the superficial fluid velocity in the riser; in particular
the critical superficial gas velocity at which all solid phase is
Fig. 1 Schematic setup of Pachuca tank
suspended. This critical parameter is studied for different
geometrical setup of reactor and kind of particles. The
observations are compared with relevant literature results.
Shekhar, R., Evans, J.W., 1989, Fluid-flow in Pachuca (air-agitated) tanks .1. Laboratory-scale
experimental measurements, Metallurgical Transactions B-Process Metallurgy, 20, 6, 781-791.
Roy G.G., Shekhar, R., Mehrotra, S.P., 1998, Particle suspension in (air-agitated) Pachuca tanks,
Metallurgical And Materials Transactions B-Process Metallurgy & Materials Processing Science, 29,
2, 339-349.
Acknowledgements: The Generous support of this study by GACR under projects 104/09/0972 and
104/07/1110 is gratefully acknowledged.
Keywords: Pachuca tank reactor, Sedimentation, Airlift reactor