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Hydrodynamic Flow Regimes, Gas Holdup, and Liquid Circulation

in Airlift Reactors
Mohamed E. Abashar,*
,
Udi Narsingh, Andre E. Rouillard, and Robin J udd
Reaction and Fluidization Engineering Group (RFEG), Department of Chemical Engineering, University of
Durban-Westville, PrivateBag X54001, Durban, South Africa
Thi s study reports an experi mental i nvesti gati on i nto the hydrodynami c behavi or of an external -
l oop ai r l i ft r eactor (ALR) for the ai r -water system. Thr ee di sti nct fl ow r egi mes ar e
i denti fi edsnamel y homogeneous, transi ti on, and heterogeneous regi mes. The transi ti on between
homogeneous and heterogeneous fl ow i s observed to occur over a wi de range rather than bei ng
merel y a si ngl e poi nt as has been previ ousl y reported i n the l i terature. A gas hol dup correl ati on
i s devel oped for each fl ow regi me. The correl ati ons fi t the experi mental gas hol dup data wi th
very good accuracy (wi thi n (5%). I t woul d appear, therefore, that a determi ni sti c equati on to
descri be each fl ow regi me i s l i kel y to exi st i n ALRs. Thi s equati on i s a functi on of the reactor
geometry and the systems physi cal properti es. New data concerni ng the axi al vari ati on of gas
hol dup i s reported i n whi ch a mi ni mum val ue i s observed. Thi s phenomenon i s di scussed and
an expl anati on offered. Di scri mi nati on between two sound theoreti cal model ssnamel y model
I (Chi sti et al ., 1988) and model I I (Garci a Cal vo, 1989)sshows that model I predi cts sati sfactori l y
the l i qui d ci rcul ati on vel oci ty wi th an error of l ess than (10%. The good predi cti ve features of
model I may be due to the fact that i t al l ows for a si gni fi cant energy di ssi pati on by wakes behi nd
bubbl es. Model I i s now further i mproved by the new gas hol dup correl ati ons whi ch are deri ved
for the three di fferent fl ow regi mes.
1. Introduction
Ai rl i ft reactors are known to be effi ci ent contactors
for processes i nvol vi ng gases, l i qui ds, and sol i ds. Thei r
rel ati vel y si mpl e mechani cal desi gn, l ow shear rate,
hi gh capaci ty, good mi xi ng, absence of mechani cal
agi tators, and l ow cost make them a versati l e type of
bi oreactor. Appl i cati ons of ai rl i ft reactors i n bi otech-
nol ogy and chemi cal i ndustry and thei r advantages and
di fferences over bubbl e col umns are gi ven by many
i nvesti gators (Verl aan, 1987; Chi sti , 1989; Al -Masry,
1993). The mai n di ffi cul ty i n the mathemati cal model -
i ng and desi gn of ai rl i ft reactors has been the l ack of
i nformati on on the hydrodynami cs (Ho et al ., 1977;
Merchuk et al ., 1980; Merchuk and Stei n, 1981; Moresi ,
1981; Verl aan, 1987; Chi sti et al ., 1988; Joshi et al .,
1990; Garci a Cal vo and Leton, 1991, Hatch, 1993).
An i mportant aspect i n the model i ng of the hydrody-
nami cs of ai rl i ft reactors i s the rel ati onshi p between the
dependent vari abl es of gas hol dup and l i qui d ci rcul ati on
rate and the i ndependent vari abl es of superfi ci al gas
vel oci ty (i ndependentl y control l abl e), the physi cal prop-
erti es of the fl ui ds, and reactor geometry. Thi s l ast
vari abl e has a strong i nfl uence on the hydrodynami cs
and makes i t di ffi cul t to compare the resul ts from
di fferent sources.
Several empi ri cal correl ati ons are reported i n the
l i terature (Chi sti , 1989), but these do not gi ve any
fundamental understandi ng about the hydrodynami cs
and they are thus of l i mi ted use for extrapol ati on.
Notabl e theoreti cal model s are those of Chi sti et al .
(1988), Garci a Cal vo (1989), and Garci a Cal vo et al .
(1991) whi ch are based on a vi ew of the energy bal ance
and those of Hsu and Dudukovi c (1980), Merchuk and
Stei n (1981), Verl aan (1987), Joshi et al . (1990), and
Young et al . (1991) whi ch fol l ow from a consi derati on
of the momentum bal ance.
The purpose of the present study i s to i nvesti gate the
hydrodynami cs experi mental l y and to exami ne the
val i di ty of the two exi sti ng hydrodynami c model s based
on the energy bal ance approach.
2. Circulation and the Energy Balance
The energy bal ance approach consi ders that the
dri vi ng force for ci rcul ati on i n the reactor i s produced
by the change i n energy as gas bubbl es ri se and expand
up the ri ser. Thi s energy i s di ssi pated by the i nternal
fri cti on l osses i n the fl ui ds and the fri cti on l osses agai nst
the reactor wal l . The energy bal ance over an ai rl i ft
reactor l oop i s gi ven by the fol l owi ng equati on:
or
where r, d, t, and b refer to ri ser, downcomer, top, and
bottom secti ons of the reactor. Because of the negl i gi bl e
* Author to whom al l correspondence shoul d be addressed.

E-mai l : mabashar@pi xi e.udw.ac.za.


{
Rate of energy
i nput due to
i sothermal gas
expansi on
}
)
{
Rate of energy di ssi pati on
due to i nternal turbul ence
and fri cti on between
the gas-l i qui d i nterface
}
+
{
Rate of energy l osses due
to fri cti on between the
fl ui ds and the reactor
}
(1)
E
i n
)

E +

E (2)

E ) E
r
+ E
d
+ E
t
+ E
b
(3)

E ) E
r
+ E
d
+ E
t
+ E
b
(4)
1251 I nd. Eng. Chem. Res. 1998, 37, 1251-1259
S0888-5885(97)00461-2 CCC: $15.00 1998 Ameri can Chemi cal Soci ety
Publ i shed on Web 02/14/1998
dri ft of gas wi th respect to the l i qui d i n both the top
and bottom secti ons, the terms E
t
and E
b
are essenti al l y
zero.
The energy i nput due to the i sothermal expansi on of
an i deal gas (suppl i ed at a pressure of P
h
and a
superfi ci al gas vel oci ty of U
gr
) i s gi ven by the fol l owi ng
(Chi sti , 1989):
2.1. Model I (Chisti et al., 1988). The model of
Chi sti et al . makes the fol l owi ng assumpti ons:
(1) Steady-state condi ti ons. (2) I sothermal condi ti ons.
(3) Negl i gi bl e mass transfer between the gas and the
l i qui d. (4) The energy l osses terms due to the ski n
fri cti on i n the ri ser and the downcomer negl i gi bl e (E
r
0, E
d
0) i n compari son to the other di ssi pati on
terms. Thi s assumpti on i s justi fi ed by the experi mental
evi dence of Lee et al . (1986) for l ow-vi scosi ty Newtoni an
fl ui ds (e.g., water). (5) The pressure drop due to
accel erati on negl i gi bl e (Wal l i s, 1969).
The energi es associ ated wi th turbul ence and i nternal
fri cti on, E
r
and E
d
are obtai ned by an energy bal ance
on the ri ser and on the downcomer. The energy bal ance
for the ri ser i s gi ven by the fol l owi ng:
or (negl ecti ng the mass of the gas compared to that of
the l i qui d):
hence
The energy bal ance on the downcomer i s wri tten as
or
hence
For the case where there i s no l i qui d draw off, the
conti nui ty equati on gi ves the fol l owi ng
Substi tuti on of eqs 8, 11, and 12 i nto eq 3 gi ves
The energy l osses due to fri cti on i n the top and the
bottom of the reactor (caused by expansi on, contracti ng,
and changes i n fl ow di recti on) are gi ven by
where V i s the l i near vel oci ty and K i s the fri cti on l oss
coeffi ci ent. The rel ati ons between the l i near vel oci ti es
of the l i qui d i n the ri ser and the downcomer and the
superfi ci al l i qui d vel oci ty i n the ri ser are obtai ned as
fol l ows:
Substi tuti on of eqs 14-17 i n eq 4 gi ves
Substi tuti on of eq 13 for E and eq 18 for E i n eq 2
gi ves the superfi ci al l i qui d vel oci ty i n the ri ser as
A rel i abl e model based on the overal l momentum
bal ance was al so devel oped by Hsu and Dudukovi c
(1980) for the predi cti on of the l i qui d reci rcul ati on
vel oci ty i n gas-l i ft reactors. Thi s momentum equati on
can al so be reduced to eq 19, when fri cti on l osses are
negl ected.
2.2. Model II (Garcia Calvo, 1989). The mai n
di fferences between thi s model and model I are that i n
thi s model the energy l osses are effecti vel y ascri bed to
ski n fri cti on agai nst the reactor wal l and to fri cti on due
to gross sl i p of the bubbl es and the l i qui d i n the ri ser.
Energy di ssi pated by i nternal ci rcul ati on i n the bubbl e
wakes, for exampl e, i s excl uded.
The model assumpti ons for model I I are the fol l ow-
i ng: (1) Steady-state condi ti ons. (2) I sothermal condi -
ti ons. (3) Negl i gi bl e i nternal reci rcul ati on. (4) Negl i -
gi bl e mass transfer between the gas and the l i qui d. (5)
The gas hol dup i n the downcomer negl i gi bl e (
do
) 0).
(6) The average densi ty of the gas-l i qui d equal to the
l i qui d densi ty. (7) The pressure drop due to accel erati on
negl i gi bl e (Wal l i s, 1969). (8) Constant sl i p vel oci ty i n
the ri ser. (9) Gas hol dup i n the ri ser consi dered to be
the mean gas hol dup.
From assumpti ons 3 and 5 E
d
0 and E
r
becomes
onl y the energy di ssi pated at the gas-l i qui d i nterface
i n the ri ser and i s gi ven by the fol l owi ng (Ri chardson
and Hi gson, 1962):
E
i n
) U
gr
A
r
P
h
l n
(
1 +
F
L
gh
P
h
)
(5)
E
i n
+ pressure energy l oss )
potenti al energy gai n + E
r
(6)
E
i n
+ m
Lr
(1 -
ro
)gh ) m
Lr
gh + E
r
(7)
E
r
) E
i n
- m
Lr

ro
gh (8)
potenti al energy l oss )
pressure energy gai n + E
d
(9)
m
Ld
gh ) m
Ld
(1 -
do
)gh + E
d
(10)
E
d
) m
Ld

do
gh (11)
m
Lr
) m
Ld
(12)

E ) E
i n
- m
Lr
(
ro
-
do
)gh (13)
E
t
) m
Lr
K
t
V
Lr
2
2
(14)
E
b
) m
Ld
K
b
V
Ld
2
2
(15)
V
Lr
)
U
Lr
(1 -
ro
)
(16)
V
Ld
)
U
Ld
(1 -
do
)
)
(
A
r
A
d
)
U
Lr
(1 -
do
)
(17)

E ) m
Lr
[
K
t
(1 -
ro
)
2
+
K
b
(A
r
/A
d
)
2
(1 -
do
)
2
]
U
Lr
2
2
(18)
U
Lr
)
[
2gh(
ro
-
do
)
K
t
(1 -
ro
)
2
+
K
b
(A
r
/A
d
)
2
(1 -
do
)
2 ]
0.5
(19)

E ) E
r
)

P
1
P
2
V
s

r
A
r
dP ) V
s
A
r

ro
(P
2
- P
1
) )
V
s
A
r

ro
F
L
gh (20)
1252 I nd. Eng. Chem. Res., Vol . 37, No. 4, 1998
where V
s
i s the sl i p vel oci ty (Wal l i s, 1969):
From eqs 17 and 21:
Fol l owi ng Garci a Cal vo (1989) and expressi ng al l the
fri cti on i n terms of the l i qui d vel oci ty i n the downcomer,
the fri cti on l osses between the fl ui ds and the reactor i s
gi ven by
Substi tuti on of eqs 5, 20, and 23 i n eq 2 gi ves
The correspondi ng superfi ci al l i qui d vel oci ty i n the ri ser
i s obtai ned from the defi ni ti on of the sl i p vel oci ty i n eq
21:
3. Experimental Section
The pi l ot pl ant external l oop ai rl i ft reactor used i n
thi s work i s shown i n Fi gure 1. The reactor was made
of borosi l i cate gl ass wi th an approxi mated worki ng
vol ume of 0.725 m
3
. The major di mensi ons are sum-
mari zed i n Tabl e 1. Ai r was i ntroduced through a
ci rcul ar perforated pl ate sparger contai ni ng 193 hol es
of 1-mm di ameter on a 11-mm square pi tch. The
sparger was desi gned accordi ng to the cri teri a gi ven by
Ruff et al . (1978) and was l ocated about 0.94 m from
the base of the reactor. The fl ow rate of the ai r was
measured by a turbi ne fl owmeter and control l ed by a
needl e val ve just downstream of i t. A set of rotameters
was i ncl uded for vi sual i ndi cati ons onl y. The l i qui d
ci rcul ati on vel oci ty i n the downcomer was measured by
an el ectromagneti c fl owmeter. The pressure drop al ong
the ri ser was measured by a set of i nverted U-tube
manometers connected to four taps 1.1 m apart i n three
secti ons of the ri ser. The fi rst tap was l ocated at 1.36
m above the sparger whi ch i s greater than the maxi -
mum di stance necessary for the equi l i bri um bubbl e si ze,
5 ti mes the col umn di ameter (Joshi et al ., 1990). The
pressure measurement system enabl ed the cal cul ati on
of the l ocal gas hol dup as wel l as the overal l gas hol dup
for i ndi vi dual and a combi nati on of secti ons. A si ngl e
i nverted U-tube manometer was used to measure the
gas hol dup i n the downcomer. For al l experi ments ai r
and fi l tered tap water were used and the reactor was
operated at room temperature and atmospheri c pres-
sure. The di spersi on hei ght was kept at 6.06 m.
4. Results and Discussion
4.1. Characterization of Flow Regimes. The
characteri zati on of vari ous fl ow regi mes has been
descri bed by Shah et al . (1982) for bubbl e col umns. The
bubbl y (homogeneous) fl ow regi me i s characteri zed by
al most uni form si zed bubbl es wi th equal radi al di stri -
buti on. The heterogeneous (churn turbul ent) fl ow re-
gi me i s characteri zed by l arge bubbl es movi ng wi th hi gh
ri se vel oci ti es i n the presence of smal l bubbl es. Het-
erogeneous fl ow i s typi cal l y characteri zed by a nonuni -
form radi al gas hol dup profi l e. The thi rd regi me (sl ug
fl ow) occurs onl y i n smal l di ameter col umns (up to 0.15
V
s
)
U
gr

ro
- V
Lr
)
U
gr

ro
-
U
Lr
(1 -
ro
)
(21)
V
Ld
) U
Ld
) (1 -
ro
)
(
A
r
A
d
)
V
Lr
)
(1 -
ro
)
(
A
r
A
d
)(
U
gr

ro
- V
s
)
(22)
E ) K
f
m
Ld
V
Ld
2
2
) K
f
F
L
A
d
U
Ld
3
2
)
1
2
K
f
F
L
A
d
[
(1 -
ro
)
(
A
r
A
d
)(
U
gr

ro
- V
s
)]
3
(23)
U
gr
P
h
l n
(
1 +
F
L
gh
P
h
)
- V
s

ro
F
L
gh -
1
2
K
f
F
L
(
A
r
A
d
)
2
[
(1 -
ro
)
(
U
gr

ro
- V
s
)]
3
) 0 (24)
U
Lr
) (1 -
ro
)
(
U
gr

ro
- V
s
)
(25)
Figure 1. Experi mental setup for the external l oop ai rl i ft
reactor: (1) ai r compressor; (2) pressure regul ator and fi l ter; (3)
turbi ne fl owmeter; (4) rotameters; (5) sparger; (6) water drai nage;
(7) pressure tappi ng; (8) el ectromagneti c fl owmeter; (9) water i nl et;
(10) i nverted U-tube manometer; (11) di sengagement tank.
Table 1. Major Reactor Dimensions
di ameter
(m)
hei ght
(m)
di spersi on hei ght
(m)
ri ser 0.225 6.75 6.06
downcomer 0.225 6.75
di sengager 1.58 0.38 0.50
I nd. Eng. Chem. Res., Vol . 37, No. 4, 1998 1253
m). At hi gh gas fl ow rates the l arge bubbl es are
stabi l i zed by the col umn wal l , l eadi ng to the formati on
of bubbl e sl ugs. Kri shna and El l enberger (1996) re-
ported a transition regime between homogeneous and
heterogeneous regi mes.
The same characteri zati on i s used for ai rl i ft reactors
(Verl aan, 1987; Chi sti , 1989). Verl aan (1987) i denti fi ed
a transi ti on point between two regi mes (at approxi -
matel y 0.05 m/s) i n ai rl i ft reactors by the presence of a
di sconti nui ty i n a pl ot (doubl e l ogari thmi c scal e) of the
superfi ci al l i qui d vel oci ty vs the superfi ci al gas vel oci ty.
He al so showed that the two-phase dri ft model of Zuber
and Fi ndl ay (1965) was onl y appl i cabl e up to a maxi -
mum val ue of the total fl ow and beyond thi s val ue the
requi red pl ug fl ow behavi or (i .e., bubbl es di stri buted
homogeneousl y i n a radi al sense) no l onger exi sted. Thi s
maxi mum val ue al so corresponded to Verl aans transi -
ti on poi nt. Thi s was not i n contradi cti on wi th the
concl usi on of Merchuk and Stei n (1981) who reported
that the two-phase dri ft model of Zuber and Fi ndl ay
sati sfactori l y fi tted al l thei r experi mental data for the
whol e range, but a careful anal ysi s of thei r range of
experi mental data as wel l as thei r val ue of the di stri bu-
ti on coeffi ci ent (1.03) show cl earl y that thei r experi -
mental range of parameters i s bel ow the transi ti on poi nt
(i .e., i n the bubbl y fl ow regi me).
Joshi et al . (1990) proposed di fferent cri teri on to
di fferenti ate between the homogeneous and the hetero-
geneous fl ow regi mes. They detected a sharp i ncrease
i n the sl ope of the dri ft fl ux vs the gas hol dup pl ot. Thi s
sharp i ncrease was taken as the transi ti on between
regi mes. They al so showed that the l ocati on of the
transi ti on poi nt depends upon several factors such as
sparger desi gn, superfi ci al l i qui d vel oci ty, reactor ge-
ometry, and the fl ui d physi cal properti es.
The l ocal gas hol dup profi l es for the three secti ons i n
the ri ser are shown i n Fi gure 2. The overal l gas hol dup
i s al so shown by a dotted l i ne. Three separate fl ow
regi mes are both suggested by the data and al so
confi rmed by vi sual observati on, namel y the bubbl y fl ow
(homogeneous), transi ti on, and heterogeneous (churn
turbul ent) fl ow regi mes are i denti fi ed. The fl ow regi mes
cannot be sharpl y i denti fi ed i n thi s fi gure, but the data
i s more suggesti ve of three, rather than two regi mes
wi th a si ngl e transi ti on.
Fi gure 3 shows pl ots of U
Lr
vs U
gr
used by many
workers to i denti fy the transi ti on poi nt. Fi gure 3a
shows that the pl ot of the power l aw dependence i s not
of much hel p i n thi s respect. I n the doubl e l ogari thmi c
pl ot (Fi gure 3b) there are cl ear di sconti nui ti es i n the
sl ope of the functi on and the functi on i tsel f. These
di sconti nui ti es represent the transi ti on poi nts (i .e., the
start and the end of the transi ti on regi me). Transi ti on
i s cl earl y over a range.
Fi gure 4 shows that the two-phase dri ft model of
Zuber and Fi ndl ay fi ts the experi mental data rather
wel l unti l some transi ti on begi ns. The si mpl est form
of the dri ft model used to fi t our experi mental data up
to the start of transi ti on (usi ng the method of l east
squares) i s
The val ue of the di stri buti on coeffi ci ent (1.07) confi rms
that there must be rel ati vel y fl at radi al profi l es of the
vel oci ty and the gas hol dup (homogeneous regi me) i n
the col umn before the transi ti on starts. Some val ues
for the dri ft fl ux parameters found by other i nvesti ga-
tors for external l oop ai rl i ft reactors are compared wi th
Figure 2. Local gas hol dup and mean gas hol dup vs superfi ci al
gas vel oci ty i n the ri ser.
Figure 3. Superfi ci al l i qui d vel oci ty vs superfi ci al gas vel oci ty
i n the ri ser: (a) normal scal e and (b) doubl e l ogari thmi c scal e.
V
gr
) 1.07(U
gr
+ U
Lr
) + 0.538
0 e (U
gr
+ U
Lr
) e 0.8 (26)
1254 I nd. Eng. Chem. Res., Vol . 37, No. 4, 1998
our measurements i n Tabl e 2. Apparentl y, the consi d-
erati on of the change i n the fl ow pattern reported i n
thi s study may be responsi bl e for thi s devi ati on.
Our esti mates of superfi ci al gas vel oci ty at the start
and end of the transi ti on regi me are 0.02 and 0.043 m/s,
respecti vel y. Thi s data may be compared wi th the
si ngl e transi ti on poi nt measurement of 0.05 m/s re-
ported by Verl aan (1987) and Joshi et al . (1990). I t i s,
of course, not real l y possi bl e to compare the exact
l ocati on of the transi ti on, si nce i t i s profoundl y affected
by the geometry of the reactor, fl ui d properti es, and
operati ng condi ti ons.
Another i mportant resul t i s that the l ocal gas hol dup
profi l e measured i n the second (mi ddl e) secti on of the
col umn i ntersects and becomes l ower than the l ocal gas
hol dup profi l e for the fi rst secti on of the col umn. I t i s
i nteresti ng that thi s crossover occurs i n the vi ci ni ty of
the start of the transi ti on regi me, as shown cl earl y i n
Fi gure 2. Thi s strange behavi or i s as a resul t of the
mi ni mum i n the gas hol dup whi ch i s observed al ong the
l ength of the ri ser, as shown i n Fi gure 5. Thi s mi ni mum
i n the gas hol dup al ong the ri ser may be expl ai ned by
consi deri ng the bal ance of the two opposi ng i nfl uences
of the hydrostati c pressure and bubbl e coal escence. The
decrease of hydrostati c pressure al ong the col umn
i ncreases the bubbl e si ze and thus the total bubbl e
vol ume and consequentl y the gas hol dup. But the
i ncrease of the bubbl e si ze due to coal escence acts to
i ncrease bubbl e vel oci ty, and thi s decreases the resi -
dence ti me and hence tends to decrease the gas hol dup.
Of course, these compl i cated i nterrel ated factors happen
si mul taneousl y, but the domi nant one gi ves the overal l
resul t. I t i s the change i n the bal ance of these factors
that possi bl y contri butes the start and fi ni sh of the
transi ti on regi me. Cl earl y, the bal ance i s affected by
other physi cal factors such as the l ocati on of the sparger
and of course the physi cochemi cal properti es of the
fl ui ds whi ch wi l l affect the bubbl e dynami cs.
4.2. Gas Holdup Correlations. Fi gure 6 shows
that, despi te the axi al vari ati on of the gas hol dup, the
ari thmeti c mean of the l ocal gas hol dup for the three
secti ons i s approxi matel y equal to the overal l gas hol dup
i n the ri ser. However, we now propose separate cor-
rel ati ons to predi ct the overal l gas hol dup i n the ri ser
for each of the three regi mes rather than correl ati ng
the whol e range by a si ngl e equati on. The form of the
correl ati ons i s arri ved at from the dri ft gas model as
fol l ows:
Figure 4. Li near gas vel oci ty vs the total fl ux i n the ri ser.
Table 2. Parameters for the Drift Flux Model
system dr (m)
di stri buti on
coeffi ci ent
dri ft
vel oci ty
(m/s) ref
ai r-water 0.225 1.07 0.538 thi s work
ai r-water 0.200 1.20 0.260 Verl aan (1987)
ai r-water 0.240 1.13 0.280 Ni col and Davi dson (1988)
ai r-water 0.140 1.03 0.330 Merchuk and Stei n (1981)
Figure 5. Local gas hol dup profi l es i n the ri ser for vari ous
superfi ci al gas vel oci ti es.
Figure6. Mean gas hol dup vs the overal l gas hol dup i n the ri ser.
U
gr
)

ro
(C
1
U
Lr
+ C
2
)
(1 -
ro
C
1
)
(27)
I nd. Eng. Chem. Res., Vol . 37, No. 4, 1998 1255
The Macl auri n expansi on of the term 1/(1 -
ro
C
1
) i s
Defi ni tel y thi s expansi on i s si ngul ar at
ro
C
1
) 1.
Assumi ng a power l aw dependence as shown i n eq 29,
then eq 27 becomes
Negl ecti ng the hi gh-order terms (si nce
ro
i s typi cal l y
rather smal l ) and al so the term
ro
C
2
gi ves
The coeffi ci ents (R, ) are obtai ned for al l fl ow regi mes
by anal yzi ng our experi mental data usi ng nonl i near
regressi on anal ysi s. A correl ati on for each regi me i s
obtai ned as fol l ows:
(a) homogeneous regi me
(b) transi ti on regi me
(c) heterogeneous regi me
Fi gure 7 shows the predi cted val ues of the overal l gas
hol dup from these correl ati ons vs the experi mental
val ues. The power l aw correl ati ons are i n good agree-
ment wi th the experi mental val ues ((5%). The pl ot of
the gas hol dup i n the downcomer vs the overal l gas
hol dup i n the ri ser i s shown i n Fi gure 8. The fol l owi ng
correl ati on i s obtai ned:
A si mi l ar l i near rel ati onshi p wi th a sl ope of 0.79 and
i ntercept of -0.057 was reported by Bel l o et al . (1985).
The di fferences between eq 35 and the correl ati on of
Bel l o et al . (1985) i s due to the fact that the overal l gas
hol dup i n the downcomer depends on the geometry and
the effi ci ency of the di sengagement tank.
4.3. Models Application. These gas hol dup cor-
rel ati ons devel oped i n thi s study for the three fl ow
regi mes are now i mpl emented, mai nl y i n model I .
4.3.1. Model I (Chisti et al., 1988). The reactor
geometry affects the val ues of K
b
and K
t
. I n thi s study
the fri cti on coeffi ci ents at the bottom and the top of the
reactor are esti mated usi ng the engi neeri ng correl ati ons
as K
b
K
t
) 1.8 (Streeter and Wyl i e, 1979). Di fferent
val ues of K
b
are reported i n the l i terature, but thi s val ue
(1.8) i s al most the same as the val ue obtai ned by
Verl aan (1987). Fi gure 9a shows a compari son between
experi mental and predi cted val ues of the superfi ci al
l i qui d vel oci ty i n the ri ser usi ng model I (eq 19). The
devel oped correl ati ons (eqs 32-34) for the gas hol dup
are i mpl emented i n thi s model . I t i s cl earl y shown i n
Fi gure 9a that thi s model predi cts the superfi ci al l i qui d
vel oci ty i n the ri ser wi th sati sfactory accuracy and the
di fference between experi mental and predi cted val ues
i s l ower than (10%. Fi gure 9b shows the predi cti on of
model I when the wel l -known gas hol dup correl ati on of
Hi l l s (1976) i s used for the di fferent fl ow regi mes.
Substi tuti on of thi s correl ati on i n eq 19 al l ows the
cal cul ati on of the superfi ci al l i qui d vel oci ty i n the ri ser
(U
Lr
) for each val ue of the superfi ci al gas vel oci ty i n the
ri ser (U
gr
). The resul ti ng nonl i near al gebrai c equati on
i s sol ved numeri cal l y by an I MSL (I nternati onal Math-
ematics and Statistics Library) subroutine called ZSPOW
Figure 7. Pari ty pl ot for the overal l gas hol dup i n the ri ser.
1
(1 -
ro
C
1
)
) 1 +
ro
C
1
+ (
ro
C
1
)
2
+ (
ro
C
1
)
3
+ ... (28)
U
Lr
) aU
gr
b
(29)
U
gr
) (C
3
U
gr
b
+ C
2
)(
ro
+
ro
2
C
1
+
ro
(
ro
C
1
)
2
+

ro
(
ro
C
1
)
3
+ ...) (30)

ro
) RU
gr

(31)

ro
) 0.29U
gr
0.74
0 e U
gr
e 0.02 (32)

ro
) 0.37U
gr
0.81
0.02 < U
gr
e 0.043 (33)

ro
) 1.58U
gr
1.232
U
gr
> 0.043 (34)
Figure8. Gas hol dup i n the downcomer vs the overal l gas hol dup
i n the ri ser.

do
) 0.174
ro
0.007 e
ro
e 0.06 (35)

ro
)
U
gr
0.24 + 1.35(U
gr
+ U
Lr
)
0.93
U
Lr
> 0.3 m/s
(36)
1256 I nd. Eng. Chem. Res., Vol . 37, No. 4, 1998
based on a vari ati on of Newtons method whi ch uses a
fi ni te di fference approxi mati on to the Jacobi an and
takes precauti ons to avoi d l arge step si zes or i ncreasi ng
resi dual s. I t i s obvi ous that the devi ati on of the model
predi cti on becomes si gni fi cant ((21%) as shown i n
Fi gure 9b and the overal l predi cti veness i s unacceptabl e.
The predi cti on of model I i s very sensi ti ve to the val ue
of
ro
.
4.3.2. Model II (Garcia Calvo, 1989). Hsu and
Dudokovi c (1980) devel oped a rel ati on between gas
hol dup and the l i qui d vel oci ty based on momentum
bal ance i n whi ch the pressure di fference between the
ri ser and the downcomer i s consi dered to be due to the
fri cti on l osses i n the reactor.
Thi s rel ati on has been used by many workers (Verl aan,
1987; Merchuk and Stei n, 1981). Fi gure 10a shows the
experi mental measured gas hol dup i n the ri ser vs the
square of the superfi ci al l i qui d vel oci ty i n the down-
comer. The best fi t was made by usi ng the method of
l east squares. From the sl ope of the l i ne the total
fri cti on coeffi ci ent (K
f
) was found accordi ng to eq 37 to
be equal to 4.43. From thi s fi gure, as far as the l i near
rel ati onshi p exi sts, the total fri cti on coeffi ci ent i s i nde-
pendent of the l i qui d vel oci ty and the gas hol dup. A
compari son between the total fri cti on coeffi ci ent (K
f
) and
the total val ue of K
b
and K
t
(K
b
+ K
t
) 3.6) shows that
most of the energy l osses due to the fri cti on between
the fl ui ds and the reactor are di ssi pated at the top and
the bottom of the reactor.
The sl i p vel oci ty was cal cul ated accordi ng to Har-
mathys equati on (1960):
where the surface tensi on of the water (
L
) i s 0.075 N/m.
Equati on 24 i s a nonl i near al gebrai c equati on. Know-
i ng K
f
and V
s
thi s equati on i s sol ved by ZSPOW to
Figure9. Pari ty pl ot for the superfi ci al l i qui d vel oci ty i n the ri ser
(model I ): (a) usi ng di fferent gas hol dup correl ati ons for vari ous
fl ow regi mes from thi s work and (b) usi ng gas hol dup correl ati on
of Hi l l s (1976) for vari ous fl ow regi mes.

ro
)
K
f
2gh
U
Ld
2
(37)
Figure10. (a) The overal l gas hol dup i n the ri ser vs the square
superfi ci al l i qui d vel oci ty i n the downcomer and (b) pari ty pl ot
for the superfi ci al l i qui d vel oci ty i n the ri ser (model I I ).
V
s
) 1.53
[

L
g(F
L
- F
g
)
F
L
2
]
1/4
(38)
I nd. Eng. Chem. Res., Vol . 37, No. 4, 1998 1257
predi ct
ro
for each val ue of the superfi ci al gas vel oci ty
(U
gr
) and the correspondi ng superfi ci al l i qui d vel oci ty
i s obtai ned from eq 25. Fi gure 10b shows that the
di fference between the experi mental and the predi cted
val ues of the superfi ci al l i qui d vel oci ty i n the ri ser i s
l ess than (16%. I t i s obvi ous that model I i s more
accurate than model I I ; thi s may be due to consi derati on
of energy di ssi pated by the wakes behi nd the bubbl es
and then may be consi dered di fferent for very di fferent
fl ow regi mes. Despi te the l ower accuracy of model I I
i n thi s study, i t sti l l has an attracti ve feature of
predi cti ng the l i qui d superfi ci al vel oci ty and the gas
hol dup on the basi s of the total fri cti on coeffi ci ent (K
f
),
the sl i p vel oci ty (V
s
), and the superfi ci al gas vel oci ty
(U
gr
).
5. Conclusions
Three fl ow regi mes, rather than two fl ow regi mes
separated by a transi ti on poi nt, have been observed i n
an ALR. New correl ati ons for gas hol dup i n the ri ser
i n the three regi mes are proposed.
Measurements i n the ri ser show that there i s an axi al
vari ati on i n the gas hol dup and a mi ni mum may exi st.
Thi s mi ni mum may be as a resul t of the competi ng
i nfl uences of hydrostati c pressure vs bubbl e coal escence.
The model of Chi sti (1989) i s used to predi ct the
measured l i qui d ci rcul ati on rates. The predi cti ons are
very sensi ti ve to the val ue of
ro
used, and the predi c-
ti ons of thi s model are consi derabl y enhanced by usi ng
the separate correl ati ons for the gas hol dup for the three
fl ow regi mes. Chi sti s model i s a better fi t to the present
data than Cal vos model .
Further studi es are needed to devel op a method of
esti mati ng the transi ti on poi nts i n ALRs.
Nomenclature
a ) coeffi ci ent i n eq 29
A ) cross-secti onal area, m
2
b ) coeffi ci ent i n eq 29
C
1
, C
2
, C
3
) constants i n eqs 27-30
E
i n
) rate of energy i nput due to i sothermal gas expansi on,
W
E ) rate of energy di ssi pati on due to i nternal turbul ence
and fri cti on between the gas-l i qui d i nterface, W
E ) rate of energy l osses due to fri cti on between the fl ui ds
and the reactor, W
g ) gravi tati onal accel erati on, m/s
2
h ) di spersi on hei ght, m
K ) fri cti on coeffi ci ent, di mensi onl ess
K
f
) total fri cti on coeffi ci ent, di mensi onl ess
m ) mass fl ow rate, kg/s
P
h
) reactor headspace pressure, Pa
U ) superfi ci al vel oci ty, m/s
V ) l i near vel oci ty, m/s
V
s
) sl i p vel oci ty, m/s
Z ) di mensi onl ess hei ght of three secti ons
Greek Symbols
R ) coeffi ci ent i n eq 31
) coeffi ci ent i n eq 31
) l ocal gas hol dup, di mensi onl ess

ro
) overal l gas hol dup i n the ri ser, di mensi onl ess

do
) overal l gas hol dup i n the downcomer, di mensi onl ess
j ) mean gas hol dup, di mensi onl ess
F ) densi ty, kg/m
3
) surface tensi on, N/m
Abbreviations
ALR ) ai rl i ft reactor
Subscripts
b ) bottom of the reactor
d ) downcomer
g ) gas
L ) l i qui d
o ) overal l
r ) ri ser
s ) sl i p
t ) top of the reactor
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Received for review Jul y 2, 1997
Revised manuscript received November 14, 1997
Accepted November 15, 1997
I E9704612
I nd. Eng. Chem. Res., Vol . 37, No. 4, 1998 1259