Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 26


TABLE OF CONTENT INTRODUCTION I-) HISTORICAL BACKGROUND AND OVERVIEW OF EARLY FLUIDIZATION NOTIONS4 I-1-) The fluidized state and its early application4 I-2-) Early engineering studies 5 I-3-) Bubbling and bubbleless fluidization. 6 I-4-) Particle Behavior and Classification... 7 II-) FLUIDIZATION PROPER...8 II-1-) Types of fluidization..9 II-1-1-) Gas-Solid system9 II-1-2-) Liquid-solid system...10 II-1-3-) Gas-Liquid-Solid fluidization...10 II-2-) Fluidization velocity.11 II-3-) Effects of increase velocity on the fluidized bed..12 III-) FLUIDIZED BEDS AND PACKED BEDS..12 III-1-) Brief history on Fluidized Beds..13 III-2-) Fluidized bed types.13 III-3-) Bed Design..13 III-3-1-) The Basic model13 III-3-2-) Geldart Groupings.14
Page 1


Page 2

INTRODUCTION Fluidization being one of the most important unit operation techniques currently used worldwide at both industrial and local scales, has greatly enhanced the domain of process ingeneering by its numerous implications and applications In our everyday life. It is so important that, its being used or applied in our every day life, in most cases unconsciously or ignorantly the case of drying (electrical or indirect solar drying). This piece of work was therefore aimed at exploring the notions on fluidization and its importance as a unit operation technique in the domain of process engineering. Several previous works and studies have been done on this unit operation technique, in order to better understand its working principles and its value in the science world. We could site here, Winkler (1920), who invented a gasifier to pulverize brown coal, with the aid of the application of fluidization principles. On the other hand, a German philosopher-physician-scientist, was credited for the first description of the use of fluidization in his book, De Re metallica (1556, Latin). Fluidization is only one of the many unit operation techniques amongst others like distillation, grinding, sieving, floation and cycloning, involved in the sepation and transfer of both heat and matter in solid/gas, solid/liquid, liquid/gas, or solid/liquid mixtures.

Page 3

I-) Historical background and overview of early fluidization notions I-1-) The fluidized state and its early application When a gas or a liquid passes upward through a packed bed of granular particles, its motion creates friction against the particles, tending to lift them. This lifting force increases as the velocity of the gas or liquid increases, until, at some velocity, the fluid lifts all particles from contacting their neighbors to move freely, that is, they are fluidized. Segregated into a multiplicity of small particles, a solid presents more surface to transfer heat and mass or to react with the surrounding gas or liquid as compared to the original lumpy state. Since the 1930s, fluidization has therefore become a significant technique in the processing of solid materials. In the earlier years, the Oxford dictionary listed under the word fluid the verb fluidify meaning to make fluid, but nowadays there is a second verb, fluidize, meaning to make like fluid. (Kwauk ., 2008) In the West, Georgius Agricola, a German philosopher-physician-scientist, was credited for the first description of the use of fluidization, in his book De Re Metallica (1556, Latin), to upgrade run-of-mine ores. Song Yingxin (born 1587, and called by the noted sinologist, Joseph Needham, Chinas Agricola) also illustrated in his work, Tiengongkaiwu, applications of fluidization, not only in ore dressing but also in winnowing of grain. (Kwauk ., 2008) The Winkler pulverized brown coal gasifier invented in the 1920s to produce synthesis gas (H 2, CO, CO 2) was probably the first to use fluidization on an industrial scale, starting from an initial model of 2m dia.-13m h and producing some 2,000 m 3./h of gas and improved to 5.5m dia.-23m h processing some 700 t/d of coal. (Kwauk ., 2008) Nowacki estimated that from its inception to the 1980s there were some 63 Winkler gasifiers in 22 plants, distributed in 9 countries. The British Ministry of Fuel and Powder estimated that from the downstream Fischer-Tropsch synthesis of the Winkler gas some 5,000,000 tons of petroleum were produced in 1944. From April to August of that year allied bombardment disabled most of these FT plants to some 120,000 t/y, contributing to victory in WW2. (Kwauk ., 2008)

Page 4

Through distillation of virgin petroleum only about 20% of its weight could be recovered as gasoline. Although catalytic means to increase gasoline yield was started in the 1920s, it was as late as 1938 that eight companies joined hands forming Catalytic Research Associates to study catalytic cracking of petroleum by using fluidization, leading to the first of a series of processes, SODI in Baton Rouge. (Kwauk ., 2008) Squires in 1982 found the gas velocity in the catalytic reactor to be 0.4m/s, thus confirming it to be a dense fluidized bed. This is a second example of early application of fluidization on an industrial scale. (Kwauk ., 2008) I-2-) Early engineering studies The advent of fluidization took place at the time when the unit operations were scoring success, and scholars in chemical engineering began to study the basics of technology. For instance, Professor Wilhelm and a student of his studied fluidization with a gas and with a liquid, leading to the following findings:

Gas/solid fluidization is highly non-uniform, with much of the gas passing through the solids bed as bubbles, while for liquid/solid fluidization the solid particles are uniformly distributed. They named these two different phenomena, aggregative fluidization and particulate fluidization respectively.

Solid particles start to fluidize when the velocity of the flowing fluid reaches some unique value at which the gravity force of a particle in the fluid is balanced by the frictional force of the flowing fluid on the particle. With further increase in fluid velocity, the solids bed increases in height to provide more interstitial voidage space for the moving fluid, until a single particle is suspended in an infinite volume of fluid with a fluid velocity corresponding to the free-fall velocity of the particle in that fluid. This phenomenon is expressed by a plot of solids bed pressure drop against fluid velocity and generalized to a plot of Archimedes number against Reynolds number.

Page 5


On a log-log plot, for particulate fluidization, fluid velocity u (or its generalized form, Reynolds number) is found to be linear with voidage e, that is, u = e

, where n is an

empirical parameter depending on solid and fluid properties, as shown in Figure 5. The last finding was generalized to the case for solids being continuously fed and removed from a fluidized bed at equal rates by simply substituting the relative velocity between the fluid and the solids for u, to provide a wealth of information for a multitude of operations, as shown in. Generalized fluidization is useful for fluidized leaching and washing, which operates hydraulically without mechanical parts, and is adaptable to extremely low flowing liquid-to-solid ratios, and occupies minimal floor space. (Kwauk ., 2008) I-3-) Bubbling and bubbleless fluidization For gas/solid fluidization, the gas passes through the solids bed in two streams, one carried discontinuously by gas bubbles and the other through the relatively continuous matrix of aggregated solids. Phenomenological revelation of the flow was provided by Rowes X-ray investigations, and the related hydrodynamics was analyzed by Davidson and Harrison. On the basis of the Davidson model, Kunii and Levenspiel constructed the fluid-bed model for the parallel and interactive flow through bubbles and through the dense solids matrix. To obviate the non-uniform flow in gas/solid fluidization and to lower the unavoidable energy in bubbling flow, numerous efforts were spent in devising alternate means for bubbleless fluidization. An early attempt was the use of dilute raining particles countercurrent to upflowing gas. The dynamics, including the initial accelerative motion of particles while starting to rain downward, and heat transfer between the particles and the upflowing gas, were analyzed, and experiments were conducted up to pilot scale for metallurgical processes. (Kwauk ., 2008) Reh noted in the 1960s that Friend provided some data, contradictory to the WilhelmKwauk findings, showing that very fine particles could be fluidized at gas velocities exceeding those for free fall. From what he called such Abweichung, he found that by feeding solids

Page 6

continuously at the bottom of a vertical vessel while fluidizing with gas at velocities well above that of particle free fall, a new state of fluidization could be achieved, in which, instead of gas aggregating into bubbles, solids form strands floating in a continuum of a surrounding dilute suspension of solid particles. Such state has later been called fast fluidization, which has become the basis of the circulating fluidized bed. Reh devised a number of industrial applications among which the earliest and perhaps the most successful is that of calcining aluminum hydroxide to aluminum oxide. (Kwauk ., 2008) Circulating fluidized beds (CFB) were soon accepted in many processes, including catalytic cracking of petroleum which has been modernized. To provide basic knowledge for designing CFB, Y. Li and Kwauk soon devised a method of calculating the Z-shaped longitudinal voidage distribution in fast fluidization by considering the physical mechanism, employing four parameters determinable from the physical properties of the particles and the fluid. And, based on the meso-scale entity of clusters, ubiquitous in fast fluidization, J. Li and Kwauk further considered its physical mechanism, in addition to the stability need for minimizing the energy of supporting and transporting the particles, proposed the energyminimization-multi-scale (EMMS) model for three-dimensional analysis of fast fluidization. The EMMS model, has since its inception, been extended to other multi-phase systems, gas/liquid, liquid/liquid, as well as colloids. (Kwauk ., 2008) The think-tank for bubbleless fluidization has by no means been exhausted. Other alternatives already explored include shallow fluidized beds, levitation and magnetic control. I-4-) Particle Behavior and Classification Particles aggregate to form powder. Fluidization is affected not only by particles individually but collectively as powder. It was as late as 1973 that Geldart classificed particles according to their group behavior in fluidization in terms of particle size and their effective density in a fluid. Groups B and D: relatively large particles; for B bubbles rise faster than gas velocity, whereas in D bubbles rise slower than gas velocity. Group A: relatively fine particles,

Page 7

with wide size distribution, easy to fluidize. Group C: fine particles, tending to agglomerate during fluidization, often leading to defluidized regions, with cohesive force between particles comparable to their weight. (Kwauk ., 2008) Tung and Kwauk, Tung et al. and Qian and Kwauk described a bed collapsing method for assessing the fluidizing performance of a powder in terms of a dimensionless time Q obtained from an automatic instrument they developed, FDAS (Fluidization Data Acquisition System). (Kwauk ., 2008)

II-) FLUIDIZATION PROPER Definition of fluidization Fluidization is an operation through which fine solids are transformed into a fluid -like state through contact with either a gas or a liquid. When a uid is passed upwards through a bed, the pressure drop is the same as that for downward ow at relatively low rates. When, however, the frictional drag on the particles becomes equal to their apparent weight that is the actual weight less the buoyancy force, the particles become rearranged thus offering less resistance to the ow of uid and the bed starts to expand with a corresponding increase in voidage. This process continues with increase in velocity, with the total frictional force remaining equal to the weight of the particles, until the bed has assumed its loosest stable form of packing. If the velocity is then increased further, the individual particles separate from one another and become freely supported in the uid. At this stage, the bed is described as uidised. Further increase in the velocity causes the particles to separate still further from one another, although the pressure difference remains approximately equal to the weight per unit area of the bed. (Coulson and Richardson)

Page 8

II-1-) Types of fluidization There exist three types of fluidization depending on the fluid used in the fluidization process or in the fluidized bed. We have II-1-1-) Gas-Solid system In general, the behaviour of gas-uidised systems is considerably more complex than that of liquid-uidised systems which exhibit a gradual transition from xed bed to uidised bed followed by particle transport, without a series of transition regions, and with bed expansion and pressure drop conforming reasonably closely to values calculated for ideal systems. Part of the complication with gassolid systems arises from the fact that the purely hydrodynamic forces acting on the particles are relatively small compared with frictional forces between particles, electrostatic forces and surface forces which play a much more dominant role when the particles are very ne. As the gas velocity in a uidised bed is increased, the system tends to go through various stages: (a) Fixed bed in which the particles remain in contact with one another and the structure of the bed remains stable until the velocity is increased to the point where the pressure drop is equal to the weight per unit area of the particles. (b) Particulate and regular predictable expansion over a limited range of gas velocities. (c) A bubbling region characterized by a high proportion of the gas passing through the bed as bubbles which cause rapid mixing in the dense particulate phase. (d) A turbulent chaotic region in which the gas bubbles tend to coalesce and lose their identity. (e) A region where the dominant pattern is one of vertically upward transport of particles, essentially gassolids transport or pneumatic conveying. This condition, sometimes referred to as fast uidisation, lies outside the range of true uidisation.

Page 9


Fig.1: Illustration of Fluid bed variation with increase velocity. (http://www.scribd.com/doc/72151999/fluidization-principle)

II-1-2-) Liquid-solid system Liquid-uidised systems are generally characterised by the regular expansion of the bed that takes place as the velocity increases from the minimum uidisation velocity to the terminal falling velocity of the particles. The general relation between velocity and volumetric concentration or voidage is found to be similar to that between sedimentation velocity and concentration for particles in a suspension. The two systems are hydrodynamically similar in that in the uidised bed the particles undergo no net movement and are maintained in suspension by the upward ow of liquid, whereas in the sedimenting suspension the particles move downwards and the only ow of liquid is the upward ow of that liquid which is displaced by the settling particles. II-1-3-) Gas-Liquid-Solid fluidization If a gas is passed through a liquidsolids uidised bed, it is possible to disperse the gas in the form of small bubbles and thereby obtain good contacting between the gas, the liquid and the solid. Such systems are often referred to as three-phase uidised beds. An important application is in a biological uidised bed reactor in which oxygen transfer to the biomass takes place, rst

Page 10

by its dissolution from air which is bubbled through the bed, and then its subsequent transfer from the solution to the biomass particles. Good overall mass transfer characteristics are obtained in this way. Three-phase uidised beds are also used for carrying out gasliquid reactions which are catalysed by solids, such as hydrogenations. II-2-) Fluidization velocity The nature of the fluidized bed varies with the velocity of the fluid passed through the bed. Not should be taken that there is a minimum velocity that is needed for the bed to behave in a fluid-like manner. This is known as the Minimum fluidization velocity. The minimum fluidization velocity varies with the size of the particles.

Minimum fluidization velocity for small particle system.

when Minimum fluidization velocity for coarser particle system.

When Vm = Minimum fluid velocity (m/s) p = density of particle (kg/m3) = density of air (kg/m3) = viscosity Ns/m2)

M = void fraction
= sphericity DP = diameter of particle (m) g = acceleration (m/s2)

Page 11


II-3-) Effects of increase velocity on the fluidized bed. An increase in the gas velocity through a bed of granular solids brings about changes in the mode of gas-solid contact in many ways. With changes in gas velocity the bed moves from one state or regime to another. These regimes arranged tentatively in order of increasing velocities are packed bed (fixed) bubbling bed turbulent bed fast bed transport bed (pneumatic or entrained bed). (http://www.scribd.com/doc/72151999/fluidization-principle)


These are devices in which a large surface area for contact between a liquid and a gas (absorption, distillation) or a solid and a gas or liquid (adsorption, catalysis) is obtained for achieving rapid mass and heat transfer, and particularly in the case of fluidized beds, catalytic chemical reactions.(McCabe et al., 2001) A fluidized bed is formed when a quantity of a solid particulate substance (usually present in a holding vessel) is placed under appropriate conditions to cause the solid/fluid mixture to behave as a fluid. This is usually achieved by the introduction of pressurized fluid through the particulate medium. This results in the medium then having many properties and characteristics of normal fluids; such as the ability to free-flow under gravity, or to be pumped using fluid type technologies. (McCabe et al., 2001)

Page 12


III-1-) Brief history on Fluidized Beds In 1922 von Winkler designed a reactor that for the first time utilized a coal gasification process. Further application of the fluidized bed included the catalytic cracking of mineral oils in the 1940s. During this time theoretical and experimental research improved the design of the fluidized bed. In the 1960s VAW-Lippewerk in Lnen implemented the first industrial bed for the combustion of coal and later for the calcination of aluminium hydroxide. (McCabe et al., 2001) III-2-) Fluidized bed types There exist a few fluidized bed types which are coarsely classified based on their flow behavior, which include:

Stationary or bubbling beds, where the fluidization of the solids is relatively stationary, with some fine particles being entrained.

Circulating beds, where the fluidization suspends the particle bed, due to a larger kinetic energy of the fluid. As such the surface of the bed is less smooth and larger particles can be entrained from the bed than for stationary beds. These particles can be classified by a cyclone separator and separated from or returned to the bed, based upon particle cut size.

Vibratory Fluidized beds which are similar to stationary beds, but add a mechanical vibration to further excite the particles for increased entrainment. (McCabe et al., 2001) III-3-) Bed Design III-3-1-) The Basic model When the packed bed has a fluid passed over it, the pressure drop of the fluid is

approximately proportional to the fluid's superficial velocity. In order to transition from a packed bed to a fluidized condition, the gas velocity is continually raised. For a free-standing bed there will exist a point, known as the minimum or incipient fluidisation point, whereby the bed's mass is suspended directly by the flow of the fluid stream. The corresponding fluid velocity is known as the "minimum fluidization velocity", umf.

Page 13


Beyond the minimum fluidization velocity (

), the bed material will be

suspended by the gas-stream and further increases in the velocity will have a reduced effect on the pressure, owing to sufficient percolation of the gas flow. Thus the pressure drop from for u > umf is relatively constant. At the base of the vessel the apparent pressure drop multiplied by the cross-section area of the bed can be equated to the force of the weight of the solid particles (less the buoyancy of the solid in the fluid).

III-3-2-) Geldart Groupings In 1973, Professor D. Geldart proposed the grouping of powders in to four so-called "Geldart Groups". The groups are defined by their locations on a diagram of solid-fluid density difference and particle size. Design methods for fluidized beds can be tailored based upon the particle's Geldart grouping. Group A For this group the particle size is between 20 and 100 um, and the particle density is typically less than 1.4g/cm3. Prior to the initiation of a bubbling bed phase, beds from these particles will expand by a factor of 2 to 3 at incipient fluidization, due to a decreased bulk density. Most powder-catalyzed beds utilize this group. Group B The particle size lies between 40 and 500 um and the particle density between 1.4-4g/cm3. Bubbling typically forms directly at incipient fluidization. Group C This group contains extremely fine and consequently the most cohesive particles. With a size of 20 to 30 um, these particles fluidize under very difficult to achieve conditions, and may require the application of an external force, such as mechanical agitation. Group D The particles in this region are above 600 um and typically have high particle densities. Fluidization of this group requires very high fluid energies and is typically associated with high levels of abrasion. Drying grains and peas, roasting coffee beans,

Page 14

gasifying coals, and some roasting metal ores are such solids, and they are usually processed in shallow beds or in the spouting mode. (McCabe et al., 2001) III-3-3-) Distributor Typically, pressurized gas or liquid enters the fluidized bed vessel through numerous holes via a plate known as a distributor plate, located at the bottom of the fluidized bed. The fluid flows upward through the bed, causing the solid particles to be suspended. If the inlet fluid is disabled the bed may settle or pack onto the plate.

Fig., : Diagram of a fluidized bed IV-) PROPERTIES OR BEHAVIOURS OF FLUIDIZED BEDS

1. An object denser than the bulk of the bed will sink, while one lighter than the bed will float. Thus, a steel ball sinks in the bed, while a light shuttlecock floats on the surface. 2. The bed surface maintains a horizontal level, irrespective of how the bed is titled; also the bed assumes the shape of the vessel.
Page 15

3. The solids from the bed may be drained like a liquid through an orifice at the bottom or on the side. 4. Particles are well mixed, and the bed maintains a nearly uniform temperature throughout its body when heated. 5. The static pressure at any height is approximately equal to the weight of bed solids per unit cross section above that level. (Ruud, 2003) A fluidized bed consists of fluid-solid mixture that exhibits fluid-like properties. As such, the upper surface of the bed is relatively horizontal, which is analogous to hydrostatic behavior. The bed can be considered to be an inhomogeneous mixture of fluid and solid that can be represented by a single bulk density. Furthermore, an object with a higher density than the bed will sink, whereas an object with a lower density than the bed will float, thus the bed can be considered to exhibit the fluid behavior expected of Archimedes' principle. As the "density", (actually the solid volume fraction of the suspension), of the bed can be altered by changing the fluid fraction, objects with different densities comparative to the bed can, by altering either the fluid or solid fraction, be caused to sink or float. In fluidized beds, the contact of the solid particles with the fluidization medium (a gas or a liquid) is greatly enhanced when compared to packed beds. This behavior in fluidized combustion beds enables good thermal transport inside the system and good heat transfer between the bed and its container. Similarly to the good heat transfer, which enables thermal uniformity analogous to that of a well mixed gas, the bed can have a significant heat-capacity whilst maintaining a homogeneous temperature field. (Ruud, 2003) V-) FLOW THROUGH PACKED AND FLUIDIZED BEDS V-1-) Flow through Packed Beds
A typical packed bed is a cylindrical column that is filled with a suitable packing material. There are several different packing materials that exist. The liquid is distributed as uniformly as possible at the top of the column and flows downward, wetting the packing material. A gas is admitted at the bottom, and flows upward, contacting the liquid in a countercurrent fashion. An example of a packed bed is an absorber. Here, the gas contains some carrier species that is insoluble in the liquid (such as air) and a soluble species such as carbon dioxide or ammonia. The soluble species is absorbed in the liquid, and the lean gas leaves the column at the top. The liquid rich in the soluble species is taken out at the bottom. (McCabe et al., 2001)
Page 16

From a fluid mechanical perspective, the most important issue is that of the pressure drop required for the liquid or the gas to flow through the column at a specified flow rate. To calculate this quantity we rely on a friction factor correlation attributed to Ergun. Other fluid mechanical issues involve the proper distribution of the liquid across the cross-section, and developing models of the velocity profile in the liquid film around a piece of packing material so that heat/mass transfer calculations can be made. Design of packing materials to achieve uniform distribution of the fluid across the cross-section throughout the column is an important subject as well. Here, we have only focused on the pressure drop issue. (McCabe et al., 2001) The Ergun equation that is commonly employed is given below.

Here, the friction factor fp for the packed bed, and the Reynolds number Rep are defined as follows.

The various symbols appearing in the above equations are defined as follows.

p : Pressure Drop
L : Length of the Bed

Dp : Equivalent spherical diameter of the particle defined by : Density of the fluid : Dynamic viscosity of the fluid Vs : Superficial velocity ( cross-sectional area of the bed)
: Void fraction of the bed ( is the ratio of the void volume to the total volume of the bed) where Q is the volumetric flow rate of the fluid and A is the

Page 17

Sometimes, we may use the concept of the interstitial velocity Vi , which is related to the superficial velocity by
the pores of the column.

. The interstitial velocity is the average velocity that prevails in

Two simpler results, each obtained by ignoring one or the other term in the Ergun equation also are in use. One is the Kozeny-Carman equation, used for flow under very viscous conditions.

The other is the Burke-Plummer equation, used when viscous effects are not as important as inertia.

It is suggested that the student simply use the Ergun equation. There is no need to use these other two approximate results, even though they continue to be reported in textbooks. V-2-) Fluidized Beds A fluidized bed is a packed bed through which fluid flows at such a high velocity that the bed is loosened and the particle-fluid mixture behaves as though it is a fluid. Thus, when a bed of particles is fluidized, the entire bed can be transported like a fluid, if desired. Both gas and liquid flows can be used to fluidize a bed of particles. The most common reason for fluidizing a bed is to obtain vigorous agitation of the solids in contact with the fluid, leading to excellent contact of the solid and the fluid and the solid and the wall. This means that nearly uniform temperatures can be maintained even in highly exothermic reaction situations where the particles are used to catalyze a reaction in the species contained in the fluid. In fact, fluidized beds were used in catalytic cracking in the petroleum industry in the past. The catalyst is suspended in the fluid by fluidizing a bed of catalytic particles so that intimate contact can be achieved between the particles and the fluid. Nowadays, you will find fluidized beds used in catalyst regeneration, solid-gas reactors, combustion of coal, roasting of ores, drying, and gas adsorption operations. (McCabe et al., 2001)

Page 18


First, we consider the behavior of a bed of particles when the upward superficial fluid velocity is gradually increased from zero past the point of fluidization, and back down to zero. Reference is made to the figure on page 3. At first, when there is no flow, the pressure drop zero, and the bed has a certain height. As we proceed along the right arrow in the direction of increasing superficial velocity, tracing the path ABCD, at first, the pressure drop gradually increases while the bed height remains fixed. This is a region where the Ergun equation for a packed bed can be used to relate the pressure drop to the velocity. When the point B is reached, the bed starts expanding in height while the pressure drop levels off and no longer increases as the superficial velocity is increased. This is when the upward force exerted by the fluid on the particles is sufficient to balance the net weight of the bed and the particles begin to separate from each other and float in the fluid. As the velocity is increased further, the bed continues to expand in height, but the pressure drop stays constant. It is possible to reach large superficial velocities without having

Page 19

the particles carried out with the fluid at the exit. This is because the settling velocities of the particles are typically much larger than the largest superficial velocities used. (McCabe et al., 2001) Now, if we trace our path backward, gradually decreasing the superficial velocity, in the direction of the reverse arrows in the figure, we find that the behavior of the bed follows the curves DCE. At first, the pressure drop stays fixed while the bed settles back down, and then begins to decrease when the point C is reached. The bed height no longer decreases while the pressure drop follows the curve CEO. A bed of particles, left alone for a sufficient length of time, becomes consolidated, but it is loosened when it is fluidized. After fluidization, it settles back into a more loosely packed state; this is why the constant bed height on the return loop is larger than the bed height in the initial state. If we now repeat the experiment by increasing the superficial velocity from zero, well follow the set of curves ECD in both directions. Because of this reason, we define the velocity at the point C in the figure as the minimum fluidization velocity Vf. We can calculate it by balancing the net weight of the bed against the upward force exerted on the bed, namely the pressure drop across the bed p multiplied by the cross-sectional area of the bed. In doing this balance, we ignore the small frictional force exerted on the wall of the column by the flowing fluid. (McCabe et al., 2001)
Upward force on the bed = p A

If the height of the bed at this point is L and the void fraction is , we can write

Volume of particles = (1-) AL If the acceleration due to gravity is, the net gravitational force on the particles (net weight) is g Net Weight of the particles = (1) p f ALg

Balancing the two yields (1-)(p - f)Lg By using an expression relating p to the superficial velocity, which is the fluidization velocity at this point, we can obtain a result for the latter. Typically, for a bed of small particles ( Dp 0.1mm), the flow conditions at this stage are such that the Reynolds number is relatively small (Re 10) so that we can use the Kozeny-Carman
Page 20

Equation, applicable to the viscous flow regime, for establishing the point of onset of fluidization. This yields

When the superficial velocity Vs is equal to Vf , we refer to the state of the bed as one of incipient fluidization. The void fraction at this state depends upon the material, shape, and size of the particles. For nearly spherical particles, McCabe, Smith, and Harriott (2001) suggest that lies in the range 0.40, increasing a bit with particle size. For large particles ( Dp 1mm), inertial effects are important, and the full Ergun equation must be used to determine Vf. When in doubt, use the Ergun equation instead of a simplified version of it. Now, we consider the condition we must impose on the superficial velocity so that particles are not carried out with the fluid at the exit. This would occur if the superficial velocity is equal to the settling velocity of the particles. Restricting attention to small particles so that Stokes law can be used to calculate their settling velocity, we can write

If we now use the result for the minimum fluidization velocity for the case of small particles, given above, we see that the ratio

For lying in the range 0.40 0.45, this yields a ratio ranging from 78 50. McCabe et al. suggest that it is common to operate fluidized beds at velocities as high as 30Vf, and values as large as 100Vf are used on occasion. Recognizing that not all particles are of the same size and that Dp is only an average size, we see that fine particles are likely to be carried out with the exiting fluid in such a situation. They can be recovered by filters or cyclone separators and returned, in order to obtain the benefits of operating a bed at such large superficial velocities. Fluidization can be broadly classified into particulate fluidization or bubbling fluidization. Particulate fluidization occurs in liquids. As the velocity of the liquid is increased past the minimum fluidization velocity, the bed expands uniformly, and uniform
Page 21

conditions prevail in the liquid solid mixture. In contrast, bubbling fluidization occurs in gasfluidized beds. Here, when the bed is fluidized, large pockets of gas, free of particles, are seen to rise through the bed. Where there are particles, the bed void fraction is approximately at the value that prevails at the point of incipient fluidization. The bubbles grow until they fill the cross-section, and then successive bubbles move up the column, a condition known as slugging. (McCabe et al., 2001) The above classification should not be interpreted rigidly. Sometimes, very dense particles in a liquid can show bubbling and gases at high pressure when flowing through beds of fine particles, can give rise to particulate fluidization. Usually, this occurs at lower velocities, and at higher velocities, the bed shows bubbling. (McCabe et al., 2001)

VI- ) ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF FLUIDIZED BEDS VI-1-) Advantages The smooth, liquid-like flow of particles allows continuous automatically controlled operations with ease of handling. The rapid mixing of solids leads to nearly isothermal conditions throughout the reactor, hence the operation can be controlled simply and reliably. It is suited to large-scale operations. The circulation of solids between two fluidized beds makes it possible to transport the vast quantities of heat produced or needed in large reactors. Heat and mass transfer rates between gas and particles are high when compared with other modes of contacting. The rate of heat transfer between a fluidized bed and an immersed object is high, hence heat exchangers within fluidized beds require relatively small surface areas. VI-2-) Disadvantages The difficult-to-describe flow of gas, with its large deviation from plug flow and the bypassing of solids by bubbles, represents an inefficient contacting system. The rapid mixing of solids in the bed leads to non uniform residence times of solids in the reactor. Friable solids are pulverized and entrained by the gas. Erosion of pipes and vessels from abrasion by particles.

Page 22

For non-catalytic operations at high temperature the agglomeration and sintering of fine particles can necessitate a lowering in temperature of operation, reducing the reaction rate.

VII-) APPLICATION OF FLUIDIZED BEDS Fluidized beds are used as a technical process which has the ability to promote high levels of contact between gases and solids. In a fluidized bed a characteristic set of basic properties can be utilised, indispensable to modern process and chemical engineering, these properties include:

Extremely high surface area contact between fluid and solid per unit bed volume High relative velocities between the fluid and the dispersed solid phase. High levels of intermixing of the particulate phase. Frequent particle-particle and particle-wall collisions. Taking an example from the food processing industry: fluidized beds are used to

accelerate freezing in some IQF tunnel freezers. IQF means Individually Quick Frozen, or freezing unpackaged separate pieces. These fluidized bed tunnels are typically used on small food products like peas, shrimp or sliced vegetables, and may use cryogenic or vaporcompression refrigeration. The fluid used in fluidized beds may also contain a fluid of catalytic type; that's why it is also used to catalyse the chemical reaction and also to improve the rate of reaction. Some commercial applications include: Commercial application Solid-Catalysed Gas-Phase Reactions: Fluid catalytic cracking, reforming Fischer-Tropsch synthesis Phthalic and maleic anhydride Acrylonitrile and aniline Chlirination and bromination of hydrocarbons Polyethylene and polypropylene Oxidation of SO2 to SO3

Page 23

Gas-Solid Reactions: Roasting or ores (ZnS, Cu2S, nickel sulphides, etc.) Combustion and incineration Gasification, coking and pyrolysis/carbonization Calcination (limestone, phosphates, aluminium hydroxide) Flurination of uranium oxide Fluid coking Reduction of iron oxide Catalyst regeneration Gas-Phase Non-Catalytic Reactions: Natural gas combustion Gas-Liquid-Solid: Hydrotreating, hydroprocessing Biochemical processes Physical Processes: Drying of particles Coating of surfaces Granulation (growing particles) Heat treatment (e.g. annealing, quenching) Medical beds Filtration Back-purging of filters Blending Classification (http:// www.chmltech.com/reactors/fluidization.pps)

Page 24

CONCLUSION The objective which was that of elaborating the notion on fluidization and presenting its working principle as well as its use and application in process engineering was successfully done. It is observed that fluidization is an important unit operation technique which is applied at both industrial and local levels. The different types of fluidization studied are made use of by many large scale industries for various purposes. Despite the numerous disadvantages of fluidization outlined in the text, it still remains that it is one of the best and most applicable unit operations in most processes.

Page 25


REFFERENCES W.E. McCabe, J.C. Smith, and P. Harriott 2001. Unit operations of Chemical Engineering, McGraw Hill, New York. Kwauk Mooson (2008, October 6). FLUIDIZATION. SciTopics. Retrieved February 6, 2012, from http: //www.scitopics.com/FLUIDIZATION.html J.Ruud van Ommen: Introduction to fluidized bed Technology. Delft University of Technology. Glatt Seminar 18 march 2003. www.scribd.com/doc/36957105/fluidization http://www.scribd.com/doc/72151999/fluidization-principle. Consulted on: 12 february 2012 http://chmltech.com/reactors/fluidization.pps consulted on: 12 february 2012

Page 26