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A multiscale methodology for CFD simulation of catalytic distillation bale packings

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A multiscale model for simulating the hydrodynamic behavior of catalytic bale packings has been proposed. This model combines computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and macroscopic calculation. At small scale calculation, the CFD model includes 3-D volume-of-fluid (VOF) simulation within representative elementary unit (REU) under unsteady-state conditions. The REU constitutes gauze and catalyst domain, and porous media model is applied. At large scale calculation, a new mechanistic model deduced from the unit network model is employed. Based on liquid split proportion from small scale calculation, liquid distribution of the entire bale packing can be predicted. To evaluate different packing design, three common bale arrangements, i.e. one-bale, nine-bales and seven-bales, are compared. The area-weighted Christiansen uniformity coefficient is introduced to assess the distribution performance. A comparison between simulation and experimental results is made to validate the multiscale model. The present methodology is proved to be effective to analysis and design of catalytic distillation columns.

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Industrial Chemistry, Biotechnology, Chemical Engineering, Process Engineering