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Multiphase Flow Modeling using CFD - Online Learning...



April 20, 2013 , by Ganesh Visavale
Posted in CFD, CFD Analysis, CFD Basics, Multiphase

What is a Phase ? Thermodynamically a phase refers to states of matter which we generally classied as solid, liquid and gaseous. (Clayton T. Crowe; Multiphase Flow Handbook). Before we enter into any further discussion it is very important to understand what exactly do we mean by phase.

Multiphase ows

From modeling point of view there is a slight modication from the denition. An obvious denition of phase is thermodynamic state (gas, liquid, solid). However it is possible to dene dierent phases for computational purpose although the thermodynamic states are not dierent. (V.V.Ranade; Computational ow modeling for chemical reactor engineering)

Examples: dispersed gas solid ows with wide distribution of particle sizes usually dene multiple phases representing solid phase. Sometimes it is useful to treat thermodynamically dierent phases as single phase for computational purposes. Example : Gas-liquid-solid slurry reactor, if the solid particles are ne enough to essentially follow liquid ow it will be convenient to treat the liquid-solid mixture as slurry phase and model the 3 phase system and as 2 phase system (gas slurry). Thus from the computational point of view we have dierent or modied denitions of phase compared to thermodynamic state. Basically this comes from the point of view when we say that within computational modeling, phases are treated as dierent if they have dierent ow behavior or dierent velocity proles. So if two state of matter have dierent velocity prole they are considered as dierent phases even if thermodynamically they are of same phase. Example: Oil and water, even though they are thermodynamically a single phase (i.e. liquid) but since they show dierent ow behavior with a uid domain they are considered as 2 dierent phases. Now since we have clearly understood the dierent phases i.e. computationally how phase are treated compared to thermodynamic state of matter we shall now conclude with the multiphase ow denition. Multiphase Flow: as the name suggests it involves the simultaneous ow of mixture of phases such as gas (like bubbles) in a liquid , or liquid (like droplets) in gases and similar such ows. A jet of water falling into a mass of water can be considered as multiphase as the water jet is interacting with air surrounding it. Why study Multiphase Flow ? Multiphase ows are found in many industrial applications like chemical reactors and process ow industry and many other applications wherever there are multiple phases present. Also naturally occurring phenomena like rivers and cloud formation involve multiple phases. Most industrial applications involve more than 1 phase. In such cases, in order to model them it is dicult to isolate single phase from this multiple phases ow involved. Therefore to resolve or study such type of ows the knowledge of multiphase ow physics is extremely important in order to carry out any type of experiment or simulation on such applications. Thus multiphase ow becomes a specialized domain within uid mechanics itself and needs separate models or separate treatment in order to simulate them. Classications of Multiphase ows:
Multiphase ow is a very broad branch of study but these ows are classied into dierent categories which are mainly based upon number of phases and their types. Dispersed Flows:

In such ows one of the phases is in the form of discrete elements. Their is no connection between individual discrete phase elements which may be in the form of particles or droplets.

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Multiphase Flow Modeling using CFD - Online Learning...


Example : droplets in gas, bubbles in liquid, solid particles within gas.

Separated ows:

In such types of ows the 2 phases involved are separated by a distinct line of contact. This basically means that they can travel from one location to another in the same phase and remain in the same medium. Example : annular ow with a liquid layer along the pipe walls and a gaseous inner core.
Gas-liquid Flows:

In such ows one phase is gaseous and another is in liquid state, and can be in dierent forms like bubbly ow and annular ow.
Gas-Solid ows:

In such type of ows we generally have gas with suspended solid particles. Granular ows are also among this where particulate-particulate and particulate-wall interactions are more important than the forces due to the interstitial gas.
Liquid-Solid Flows:

In these types of ows solid particles are carried by liquid, also called as slurry ows.
Three phase ows:

This is the most complex type in multiphase ows encountered in many engineering problems. As the number of phases increases the modeling becomes complex. For example, bubbles in a slurry ow gives rise to 3-phase owing together. This is an emerging topic for research and computational modeling. Industrial examples: 1. Solid drying systems 2. Droplet separation 3. Packed bed reactors 4. Foam 5. Packed columns 6. Centrifugal extractors 7. Mist eliminators 8. Sedimentation 9. Cyclone separators 10. Mixers 11. bubble columns 12. Fluidized bed systems 13. Particulate systems 14. Precipitators 15. Dust collection systems 16. Solid suspensions Bubble column reactors: When we say a multiphase ow is present, the predominantly present phase is referred to as basically continuous phase and the secondary medium is dened as the phase which is present in lesser extent, or occupies lesser volume. Thus one phase is primary that occupies most volume and rest of the phase are dened as secondary phase that occupies less volume. Now we will see in detail bubble column reactors. These are the equipments used in chemical industry for gas-liquid reactions. They are built of vertical columns of cylindrical forms. Gas is introduced at the bottom of column which causes turbulent stream and thus provide required stirring action for reactive gas exchange. The CFD modeling of this is predominantly done, an example is as shown in the gure below, with 2 phases as gas & liquid.

Bubble column reactor

Stirred tank reactor:

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Multiphase Flow Modeling using CFD - Online Learning...


This is dened basically to carry out chemical reaction. It contains a cylindrical or other shape tank having a central rotary element that causes stirring between dierent phases hence referred as stirred tank reactor. The impeller stirs the reagent which leads to proper mixing of dierent phases.

Stirred tank reactor

Fluidized bed reactor: These basically have solid uid mixtures ultimately behaving as a uid, shown in g. Below gure shows example of volume distribution of a CFD result within a uidized bed reactor. There is an insertion of pressurized uid through the particulate medium. Fluid is purged or forced through the bottom packed particulate medium that cause particulates to act as suspension. So the entire system has ability to provide high levels of contacts between gases and solids.

Fluidized bed reactor

Applications: 1. Chemical reaction 2. Solid mixing 3. Enhanced heat transfer 4. Drying 5. Heat treatment 6. Coating Governing equations of uid ow Continuity equation:

Momentum equations:

Energy equation:

Multiphase ows Modelling approaches: 1. Lagrangian specication Here the observer follows an individual uid parcel as it moves through space and time. Equations are composed by using this fundamental concept. 2. Eulerian specication It focuses on specic locations in the space through which the uid ows as time passes.

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Multiphase Flow Modeling using CFD - Online Learning...


The modelling equations are composed keeping in mind the Eulerian and Lagrangian framework, we model the continuous phase by Eulerian method and depending upon the complexity of the ow we consider if the dispersed/ secondary phase can be modeled by either Eulerian or Lagrangian framework. Multiphase ow can be modeled mainly by three dierent approaches listed below.

Eulerian Lagrangian Approach: Utilises Eulerian framework for the continuous phase and Lagrangian framework for dispersed phases Eulerian Eulerian Approach: Utilises Eulerian framework for both the phases Volume of Fluid Approach: Eulerian framework for both the phases with specialised interface treatment. This can be explained in detail as follows. Eulerian-Lagrangian approach: Let us imagine a vast continuum represented by blue colour as the continuous phase, in the gure shown below and small particle spheres as the dispersed/ secondary phase. The discrete particle or the secondary phase in its motion is aected by the continuous phase and at times also aects the motion of continuous phase. By Eulerian-Lagrangian (E-L) approach, it means that the Eulerian framework governing equation is used for the continuous phase and the dispersed phase trajectories are solved using Lagrangian framework.

As they coexist there is a interface coupling between continuous and the dispersed phase i.e. as the dispersed phase particles moves in the continuous phase, due to drag, lift and various other forces there is exchange of momentum and energy between the two. This exchange takes place through coupling that can be one-way or two-way i.e the continuous phase can inuence the dispersed phase ow or even the dispersed phase can inuence the ow of continuous phase. The exchange of momentum and energy exists between the uid (continuous phase) and the particle (dispersed phase) and is considered while modelling using the E-L framework. The trajectories of the dispersed phase particles are solved not using the conventional Navier-Stokes equation but the equations of motions i.e. the Lagrangian framework. The E-L approach is however valid for simulating dispersed multiphase ows containing a low (<10%) volume fraction of dispersed phase. For higher volume fractions of dispersed phase one may necessarily have to use Eulerian-Eulerian approach. Also due to the lower volume fraction of the dispersed phase the volume displacement of the primary phase is ignored while modeling with this (E-L) approach. e.g. gas-liquid ow in bubble column reactors Eulerian-Eulerian approach: In Eulerian-Eulerian (E-E) approach both the dispersed particle phase and continuous uid phase are solved using the governing equations i.e. the Eulerian approach. The Lagrangian framework is not applied for dispersed phase. This can be explained using the gure given below that shows the distribution of continuous phase uid (blue) and the dispersed phase particles (pink spheres).

Here the control volume is used to dene phase velocities i.e. both the phases are modelled using the Eulerian framework of governing equations and solved within the dened control volume to obtain the phase velocities. The volume fractions of both the phases are also solved at these control volumes. As mentioned earlier there is an exchange of momentum and energy between the two phases & this two-way coupling is solved using volume average equations for the dispersed phase. The E-E approach is valid for denser (>10%) volume fractions of dispersed phase. e.g. uidized bed reactors, bubble column reactors, multiphase stirred reactors, etc. Volume of Fluid approach: The volume of uid method is particularly applicable for stratied or separated ows where the dispersed phase is well separated from the continuous phase with a distinct interface (gure below). Here, a single set of governing equation is solved for both phases using combined mixture properties. The mixture properties are obtained by using the volume fraction of each phase. The weighted mixture properties i.e. density, viscosity, specic heat etc. are of the mixture and not of the individual phase.

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Multiphase Flow Modeling using CFD - Online Learning...


To obtain the location or position of the interface the volumetric forces are modelled using the interface tracking techniques. e.g. interfacial phenomena like wall adhesion, surface tension, etc. Really simple Facebook Twitter share buttons
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Ganesh Visavale
Ganesh Visavale has done Ph.D in Chemical Engineering from ICT (formerly UDCT-Mumbai) & working in the domain of computational engineering and its application in process industry for more than 3.5 years. He leads LearnCAx, the CAx education wing of CCTech and has been instrumental in conceptualization, development and implementation of online education from CCTech for CAx professional worldwide. Interests: Computation Fluid Dynamics, Multiphase Flows, Project Management, Global Business Development, Solar Thermal Applications. # Contact: +91-9922414895, ganesh@cctech.co.in View all posts by Ganesh Visavale

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