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Powder Technology 276 (2015) 134143

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Powder Technology
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Pressure drop and pressure uctuations in spouted beds with binary

mixtures of particles
Wei Du a,b, Lifeng Zhang c, Bo Zhang b, Shuhui Bao b, Jian Xu b, Weisheng Wei b,

State Key Laboratory of Heavy Oil Processing, China University of Petroleum, Beijing 102249, PR China
The Key Laboratory of Catalysis, China National Petroleum Corp., China University of Petroleum, Beijing 102249, PR China
Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada

a r t i c l e

i n f o

Article history:
Received 10 November 2014
Received in revised form 4 January 2015
Accepted 8 February 2015
Available online 17 February 2015
Spouted bed
Flow regime transition
Pressure drop uctuation
Statistic characteristics
Power spectral analysis
Binary mixtures

a b s t r a c t
When handling ne particles in spouted beds, addition of coarse particles has shown improved spouting stability
than single particle systems. However, segregation may still occur because of insufcient mixing in binary mixtures, which will adversely inuence the process performance. Therefore, in this study, analysis of pressure drop
and its uctuation signals were for the rst time used to understand mechanisms of ow regime transitions in
spouted beds with binary mixtures. The results showed that the typical varying sequence of pressure drop can
be observed for spouted bed with binary mixtures and the peak pressure drop is related to the mixing degree
of particles, which is mainly inuenced by the inter-particle forces between ne particles and their counterpart
coarse ones. The statistic characteristics of pressure drop time series, i.e., average value, standard deviation and
probability distributions, were found to vary for different ow regimes. Therefore, they could be used for the
characterization of these ow regimes. The spouting stability of binary mixtures can be reected by power
spectrum analysis; the inuences of particles size and density difference on spouting stability were discussed
through power spectral analysis.
2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction
Spouted beds, as an alternative to uidized beds for handling coarse
particles larger than 1 mm in diameter (typically Group D particles
according to the Geldart classication) have been widely employed in
various physical operations such as drying, coating and granulation
[1]. Spouted beds also possess some unique structural and ow characteristics of great potential applications as chemical reactors [210].
However, the main factor impeding their wider use as chemical reactors
is the limited interfacial area because of use of relatively large particles,
leading to lower conversions [11]. In particular, they are not suitable for
being used in a mass transfer limited process where only the external
catalyst surface is effective [5]. Therefore, operating the spouted bed
with relatively smaller particles (such as Group B particles according
to the Geldart classication) is considered to be a remedy to increase interfacial areas and enhance conversions while the desirable spouting
characteristics remain intact.
Spouted beds operated with Group B particles have larger gas solid
contact areas, thus leading to increased conversions. In the literature,
it has been reported that the spouting of Group B particles is signicantly different from that of Group D particles and a stable spouting can only
be achieved under strict conditions [1215]. It has been shown that
Corresponding author. Fax: +86 10 89734979.
E-mail address: weiws@cup.edu.cn (W. Wei).

0032-5910/ 2015 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

adding coarse particles can effectively improve the stability of spouted

beds with ne particles [1619]. In spouted beds, as noted by Huilin
et al. [20], the solidsolid drag force is caused by particle collisions.
The internal friction for mono-sized particles is considered to be related
to the granular temperature, which takes both the particle velocity uctuations and particle collisions into account according to a kinetic theory of granular ow (KTGF) [21]. When adding coarse particles, this
stress can be greatly decreased as can be explained by KTGF. However,
excessive addition of coarse particles to the spouted bed is no longer
benecial and particle segregation is observed, thereby giving rise to a
decrease in the spouting stability. Therefore, an advanced understanding of spouting formation, mixing behavior and ow regime transition
mechanisms is still lacking. In the literature, a few diagnostic tools
have been employed to analyze ow regime transitions. In general,
they can be classied into three categories: direct measurement (visual
observation or advanced instrumentation such as PIV, LDV etc.), probe
measurement (pressure probes or optical ber probes, etc.) and X-ray
measurement. Among those tools, pressure measurement is the most
commonly adopted one due to its robustness, ease in use, and economic
The analysis of pressure uctuations, mainly related to motions
within the bed, has been widely used for decades for identifying ow regimes in uidized beds. Various analysis methods have been described
in detail in published comprehensive reviews [2225]. In general,
there exist three methods for analyzing pressure signals, which are

W. Du et al. / Powder Technology 276 (2015) 134143

time domain method, frequency domain method, and state space

method. The time domain method is typically the rst step in the data
analysis, where either the standard deviation or the average absolute
deviation is often used to identify a ow regime change [2630]. The
statistical analysis in time domain is the simplest and the most
commonly employed; it is also very fast and easily applicable. The
most commonly used method in time domain is to study the amplitude
of signals, expressed as a standard deviation (viz., square root of secondorder statistical moment). The change in amplitude with operating
conditions has been of interest to many uidization researchers for
identication of transitions between regimes. For instance, for a circulating uidized bed, the gas velocity corresponding to the peak of the
variation is typically dened as the onset of the transition to turbulent
regimes, while that corresponding to the point where the variation
levels off is dened as the onset of the turbulent regime [31]. However,
as pointed out by Dhodapkar and Klinzing [32], the amplitude of
pressure uctuations alone is not sufcient to elucidate the composition
of the uctuating signals and thus spectral analysis via Fast Fourier
Transform (FFT) has been applied on time series of pressure data in
uidized beds (e.g. [26,33]). Frequency domain analysis includes the estimation of power spectral density functions that contain information
regarding the frequency distribution in the pressure time series.
Power spectral density functions are obtained via Fourier transformation of signals. Analysis of frequency distribution has been widely applied in time series analysis of uidized beds for the characterization
of ow regimes (e.g. [34,35]) and for verication of scale-up relationships for uidized beds (e.g. [36]). Dhodapkar and Klinzing [37]
concluded that the nature of the static wall pressure uctuations in uidized beds depends on the particle size, particle density, bed height,
column diameter, location of the pressure taps and the gas velocity.
Frequency analyses of pressure uctuations on both a conventional
spouted bed [38] and a slot-rectangular spouted bed [39] have demonstrated promising results on ow regime identication. The disadvantage of power spectral density function is that deciding which peak in
the power spectrum is treated as a dominant frequency sometimes
can be subjective [40]. Therefore, a combination of different analysis
methods is needed to gain a better view of hydrodynamic behavior in
uidized beds. Therefore, the present work utilized both statistical analysis and frequency domain analysis to identify ow regime transitions
of spouted beds of binary mixtures.


More recently, the pressure uctuation analysis also has been used
to characterize the ow behavior in spouted beds [4145]. However,
the above analysis was predominantly carried out with pressure uctuation signals collected from spouted bed with mono-sized particles. The
pressure uctuations obtained from a binary system could be quite different. In the literature, this difference was noted in a uidized bed by
Chen et al. [46] due to the presence of particle mixing and segregation
in binary particle systems. However, to the best of our knowledge,
such an analysis for spouted beds with binary mixtures is not reported
in the literature. Recognition and characterization of ow regimes are
critical for designing and operating spouted beds, in particular, when
operated with binary mixtures. In view of this knowledge gap, the objectives of this study were to investigate pressure drop in a spouted
bed with binary mixtures and to identify the ow regime transition
and particle mixing/segregation by means of pressure signal analysis.
2. Experimental setup
A schematic diagram of the experimental set-up is shown in Fig. 1. In
this work, a plexi-glass spouted bed, with 80 mm in diameter, 410 mm
of nozzle diameters and 60 of conical base angle was adopted. The experiments were carried out at ambient conditions. The gas owrate was
controlled by a pressure regulator and measured by several owmeters
with different measuring ranges (1.616 m3/h and 660 m3/h). After
the particles were charged into the spouted bed, the air owrate was
adjusted for different bed heights to achieve ow regime transitions.
The pressure drops and pressure uctuations were measured by pressure transducers (Omega, PX164-010D5V) installed by an interval of
16.7 mm along bed wall and the pressure data were recorded by a PC
after A/D conversion. The bottom pressure trap was installed on the
wall just above the nozzle. Pressure uctuations were collected at
three bed levels, i.e., total bed, lower section and upper section of bed,
through plastic tubes installed on the column wall. The particles used
were composed by Al2O3 particles and silica gel particles with a volume
ratio of 4:1.
The properties of the particles used are presented in Table 1, including narrowly-distributed silica gel, Al2O3 and glass beads. The densities
and voidages at loosely packing state of the particles were measured by
a water displacement method for glass beads and wax was used for
silica gel and Al2O3 particles. The volume ratio refers to the bulk volume

Fig. 1. Schematic diagram of the experimental apparatus. 1. Compressor; 2. Pressure regulator; 3. Buffer tank; 4. Gate valve; 5. Mass ow controller; 6. Spouted bed 80 mm; 7. Spouted bed
150 mm; 8. Pressure taps; 9. pressure transducer; 10. A/D converter; and 11. PC.


W. Du et al. / Powder Technology 276 (2015) 134143

Table 1
Properties of experimental materials.

Fine particles

Coarse particles




p, kg m-3

b, kg m-3


1# Al2O3
2# Al2O3
3# Al2O3
1# silica gel
2# silica gel
Glass beads






ratio. The particle diameter was measured by a statistical averaged

method with counting more than 600 particles. In this study, Al2O3
particles with diameters of 0.20 mm, 0.38 mm and 0.79 mm (Group B
particles), were used as ne particles. Coarse particles (Group D
particles) were silica gel particles of 1.05 mm and 1.75 mm and glass
beads of 1.76 mm.
Pressure drop uctuation analysis was conducted as follows:
1. Average value:

P i
n i1

2. Standard deviation:
u 1 X
P i P
n1 i1

3. Average absolute deviation:


P P 
n i1

4. Probability density function:

f xx lim


5. Power spectral density function:


XX e

Fig. 2. The relationship between U and Ps in single sized particle systems.

that a steady spouting is established. Afterwards, the pressure drop

remains constant when the gas ow rate further increases.
Fig. 2 also shows that the peak pressure drop and the initial spouting
point differ among different particles investigated. For glass beads, the
peak and stable spouting pressure drop are 1.61 kPa and 0.8 kPa, respectively, which are the highest among these particles under investigation.
The peak pressure drop for A2 particle is lower than that for A3 particle.
But the stable spouting pressure drop for A2 particle is higher than that
for A3 particles. This can be explained by that the spouting of A2 particle is less stable and more bubbles are generated in the bed. From
Fig. 2, it can be concluded that for the peak pressure drop, the following order holds, GB N A3 N S1 N A2 N S2 while for stable spouting pressure drop, the order is GB N A2 N A3 N S1 N S2. As discussed by Bi [48],
the pressure drop is directly related to bgH ((s f)(1 )gH),
where b is particle bulk density, H is packing bed height, f is gas
density, and is voidage. Therefore, the whole bed pressure drop is
mainly determined by the particle density.
3.2. Pressure drop for spouted beds with binary mixtures
The effect of the particle diameter on the pressure drop was investigated in binary mixtures composed by A3 particles with two coarse
particles (S1 and S2). The mixing ratio was set at A3:S1 (or S2) = 2:1
and the packed bed height was 160 mm for both cases.
Fig. 3 presents that the trend of the bed pressure drop against supercial gas velocity in a spouted bed of binary mixtures is very similar to

where, P is the averaged pressure drop, P is the pressure drop, is the

standard deviation, is the average absolute deviation, fx is the dominant frequency, SXX is power spectral density and XX is the signal.
3. Pressure drop of binary particle spouting
3.1. Pressure drops for spouted beds of mono-sized particles
In order to establish a baseline, the whole bed pressure drop for different mono-sized particle systems was rstly measured. The packing
heights were 160 mm for all beds. The results are shown in Fig. 2. It
can be seen that the trend of the pressure drop against supercial gas
velocity is consistent with classical spouted bed results reported by
Mathur and Epstein [11] and Epstein and Grace [47]. In general, the
pressure drop increases with increasing supercial gas velocity (static
bed and internal cavity) until it reaches a maximum value, followed
by a decrease (inner spouting) with further increasing supercial gas
velocity. A sudden decrease in the pressure drop is observed due to
that enough solids have been displaced from the center core, indicating

Fig. 3. Effect of particle diameter on Ps.

W. Du et al. / Powder Technology 276 (2015) 134143


From the above equations, it is clearly shown that the drag force differs among particles due to their different particle diameters, particles
to move upward at different velocities. As a result, more bubbles tend
to be formed between the two solid phases and particle segregation
occurs. These bubbles will penetrate into the packing bed, lowering
the peak pressure drop, evidenced by that 1.04 kPa is observed for the
A3/S2 mixture compared to 1.1 kPa for that of the A3 and S1 mixture.
Moreover, the spouting pressure drop for the A3 and S2 mixture
(0.57 kPa) is seen to be lower than that for the A3 and S1 mixture
(0.59 kPa).

The effect of the particle density on the pressure drop was investigated by mixing two coarse particles (S2 and GB) into A3 particles at a
xed volume ratio of 1:4. The packed bed height remained at 160 mm.
As shown in Fig. 4, the peak pressure drop for the A3/GB mixture is
1.4 kPa at a gas supercial velocity of 0.32 m/s, which is higher than
1 kPa at a gas supercial velocity of 0.26 m/s for the A3/S2 mixture.
The pressure drop for A3/GB and A3/S2 mixtures at stable spouting regime is 0.71 kPa and 0.58 kPa, respectively. As discussed earlier, the
larger b of the A3/GB mixture leads to a higher pressure drop. As the
diameters of mixing particles are similar to each other, the discrepancy
of the drag forces is mainly caused by the difference in the particle
density. Therefore, the peak pressure drop for a system with a higher
particle density occurs at a higher gas supercial velocity.
The peak pressures of different systems with varying mixing ratios
of coarse particles are shown in Fig. 5. It's seen that for A2 and GB
system, the peak pressure drop is 0.82 kPa at the GB content of 20%,
and then increases rapidly with increasing the GB content to 1.2 kPa
at the GB content of 67%. As noted by Bi [48], almost all correlations
showed that peak pressure drops are in a linear relationship with
bgH ((s f)(1 )gH) for spouted beds of mono-sized particles.
Therefore, it can be expected that in a spouted bed of binary mixtures,
the peak pressure drop will increase with increasing the mixture density. Since GB particles have the highest particle density among those
coarse particles investigated, increasing its content could lift the
pressure drop. However, such an increase is not in a linear manner, indicating that the drag force between ne particles and coarse particles
in a binary mixture bed differs from that for a spouted bed only with
coarse particles.
Fig. 5 also shows that the peak pressure drop decreases slightly in
the bed with binary mixtures of A2 particles with S1 and S2 particles
due to a lower density of silica particles. In the experiments, it was observed that the mixing degree of A2 and S1 system is the highest
among all mixtures while the pressure uctuation of this binary system
is the lowest. This observation is similar with that reported by Sau et al.
(2008) that in a binary mixture uidized bed, the peak pressure drop is
determined by the mixing degree as well as the particle properties and
the mixing ratio. The better the mixing degree is, the more stable the
bed is.
The nozzle diameter is known to have an important impact on the
peak pressure drop in spouted beds [48]. Fig. 6 shows a trend of the
peak pressure drop against the nozzle diameter. In this work, four
nozzle diameters employed were 4 mm, 6 mm, 7.6 mm and 10 mm.
The data reveal that the peak pressure drop decreases with increasing
the nozzle diameter. For the A2 and GB mixture, the peak pressure
decreases from 1.3 kPa at di = 4 mm to 0.97 kPa at di = 10 mm. It's
observed that the spouting became unstable and the maximum

Fig. 4. Effect of particle density on Ps.

Fig. 5. Effect of coarse particle mixing ratio on Pm.

that observed in a mono-sized particle spouted bed. It should be noted

that the peak pressure drop for a mixture of A3 and S2 particles occurs
at a higher gas velocity compared to that for a mixture of A3 and S1 particles. This observation is due to that the mixing degree for A3 and S2
particles is relatively low and small bubbles are very likely generated
when the inner cavity appears close to the bed surface. The experimental studies show that the segregation would happen in binary mixtures
of particles with a certain range of density difference and mixing ratio,
operated even when the bed was fully spouted. In this study, the
onset of spouting can be reected by pressure drop curves, for example,
in Fig. 3, when the mixture has a smaller density difference (A3 mixed
with S1), the pressure drop curve has a clearly identied maximum,
which indicates nearly no segregation occurred. However, when the
particles has a larger difference (A3 mixed with S2), a at peak is observed in the pressure drop curve, which interprets that the pressure
drop rst reaches to the frontier of at peak when the velocity increased
to a velocity that light particle become uidized. After that, because of
particle segregation, the pressure drop did not change much until the
velocity reached a velocity that heavy particle become uidized
(as seen from the gure, the velocity is still far from that for the heavy
particle become spouted). With further increasing the supercial gas
velocity, the bed was fully spouted and pressure drop decreased quickly.
In a binary particle system, there exist three inter-phase forces, that is,
gasprimary solid drag force, gassecondary solid drag force, and
solidsolid force. In principle, the drag force between solid and gas
phase can be estimated according to the Ergun [49] equation
(for g b 0.8) and the WenYu [50] equation (for g N 0.8) given by:

Ergun 150


s g
g d2p


s g
jvuj; g b 0:8

3 s g
; g 0:8:
jvuj g
4 D dp


W. Du et al. / Powder Technology 276 (2015) 134143

bed with A2 and GB mixture, because of the segregation occurring

during the spouting and spreading to annulus region, some portion of
gas also pass through the viodage between segregated solid phases,
thereby the bed pressure drop decreases more rapidly than those for
other mixture spouted beds.

4. Pressure drop uctuations in binary spouted beds

4.1. Pressure uctuations and statistical analysis

Fig. 6. Effect of nozzle diameter on Pm.

spouting bed height decreased signicantly when the nozzle diameter

approached 10 mm. For a spouted bed, gas is easier to penetrate into
the annulus with a larger nozzle due to a resultant larger spout diameter, therefore leading to particles in this region being uidized and consequently, decreasing the total pressure drop of the bed. For the spouted

In a spouted bed of single sized particle systems, a typical ow

regime transition map shows that below the maximum spoutable bed
height, the bed changes from static bed regime to stable spouting
regime, and then to slugging regime with increasing the gas velocity
[47]. In a spouted bed of mixed particles, similar ow patterns were
observed. Representative pressure uctuations for three typical ow
regimes, static bed, stable spouting and slugging, are shown in Fig. 7.
Relatively smooth pressure signals are found for both static bed and stable spouting bed, with larger uctuations observed for the latter ow
pattern. In contrast, the pressure signal becomes irregular and highly
uctuating in slugging ow. Pressure uctuations in the spouted bed
for a binary particle system are similar to those results for a single particle size system [45]. The bed pressure drop signals are more irregular
and uctuating in spouting and slugging ow regimes. The difference

Fig. 7. The whole bed pressure signals in different regimes. (For Dc = 80 mm, = 60, di = 7.6 mm, P = 0.1 MPa, H = 0.13 m, VA2:VS1 = 4:1). a. Comparison of different ow patterns;
b. static bed (u = 0.09 m/s); c. spouting (u = 0.22 m/s); and d. slugging (u = 0.39 m/s).

W. Du et al. / Powder Technology 276 (2015) 134143


Fig. 8. Probability distribution of pressure uctuations in different regimes. 1. For upper cylindrical section; 2. For lower cylindrical section; and 3. For total bed. (For Dc = 80 mm, = 60,
di = 7.6 mm, P = 0.1 MPa, H = 0.13 m, VA2:VS1 = 4:1).

is considered to be related to non-uniform mixing of the particles in the

spouted bed with binary mixture.
In the statistical analysis, the probability distribution of pressure
signal is a direct measure of deviations between time series pressure
data and their averaged value. Fig. 8 shows the probability distributions
of pressure signals for different ow regimes presented in Fig. 7. It
appears that there are considerable differences among the probability
distributions for the regimes observed. In static bed regime, the pressure
has the narrowest distribution, with the lowest deviation ( 10%) of
pressure uctuations from the averaged value. In the stable spouting
regime, the probability distribution becomes wider, which is mainly
concentrated in the region of 40% around the averaged value. In the
slugging regime, the widest probability distribution range, 60%, is
Table 2
Average value and standard deviation of pressure uctuations for three different ow
regimes. 1-For upper cylindrical section; 2-for lower cylindrical section; and 3-for the total

Average value
Standard deviation

Curve 1
Curve 2
Curve 3
Curve 1
Curve 2
Curve 3

Static bed

Stable spouting





Standard deviations of the pressure uctuations have been widely used to identify a regime change in gassolid uidized beds
[2630]. Table 2 shows the averaged values and standard deviations
of differential pressure uctuations collected at different bed
sections in a spouted bed. It is seen in this table that at the same
bed section, the differential pressure drop at static bed regime has
the highest average value while the lowest value is observed at
stable spouting regime. However, the standard deviation generally
increases at the air ow and rate is increased from a static bed
through spouting regime to slugging. The sharp increase in the
standard deviation from spouting to slugging is due to unstable
ow states of gas and solids within the bed, though the average
pressure drops for the two regimes are similar.
Table 2 also indicates that there are signicant differences in the
pressure drops and their standard deviations at different bed sections.
In the upper section of the bed, the lowest pressure drop and its standard deviation are found because the ow is in the fountain region
where the gas and solid ows show minimal impacts on the pressure
drop. In the lower section of the bed, the pressure drop and its standard
deviation are also low as the ow is in the annulus region where gas and
solids are in regular motion. However, near to the nozzle, the solids are
circulated back into the spout region by the highest gas velocity. The induced intense motions lead to the highest pressure drop and the largest
standard deviation. Thus, the total bed pressure drop uctuations can be
adequately utilized to reect ow characteristics of spouted beds of
mixed particle systems.


W. Du et al. / Powder Technology 276 (2015) 134143

From the above discussions, it can be seen that the statistic characteristics of time series pressure drop, that is, average value, standard
deviation and probability distributions, are quite different for different
ow regimes in spouted beds with binary mixtures. Thus, statistical
analysis of pressure uctuations, in particular, the total bed pressure
signal, can reect dynamics of a spouted bed of binary mixtures and
recognize prevailing ow patterns therein. But the pressure uctuation
for a binary system is more irregular than that of a single sized particle
system which is consistent with the current results.
4.2. Frequency domain analysis
4.2.1. Effect of particle diameter of binary mixtures
As noted previously, frequency domain analysis transforms the
information from the time domain to the frequency domain, which
includes estimation of spectral density or spectral amplitude in the
pressure time series. After analysis, dominant frequencies are usually
identied and correlated to various underlying physical phenomena.
In the literature, spectral analysis has been employed to characterize
different ow regimes in spouted beds [4345,51]. However, all previous studies were conducted with the pressure time series measured
for single sized particles in spouted beds. In a binary mixture, more
complex dynamic behaviors are expected due to inherent interactions
among particles with different particle sizes and densities. In experimental observation, it was found that with introducing a secondary
coarse particle into a primary ne particle system, the stable spouting
range could be considerably widened. The spouting stability of this binary mixture is further investigated by power spectrum analysis. Fig. 9
illustrates effect of particle diameters of binary mixtures on amplitudes
determined by Fast Fourier Transform (FFT). The pressure time series
were measured in binary mixtures composed of A2 particles and two
large particles (S1 and S2 particles) at two different volume ratios
(ne/coarse particles = 2:1 and 1:1). In Fig. 9a, at a supercial gas

Fig. 9. The spectrum analysis of mixtures of different diameters.

velocity of 0.22 m/s, stable spouting was attained for both A2/S1 and
A2/S2 mixtures at the same volume ratio of 2:1. A dominant frequency
with amplitude of 12 is found at about 6 Hz for the A2/S2 mixture while
there is no distinct dominant frequency observed for the A2/S1 mixture.
Instead, a broader distribution of frequencies, ranging from 5 Hz to
15 Hz, is observed, which is presumably associated with low frequency
gas turbulence. This also suggests that the spouting stability of the A2/S1
mixture is lower than that of the A2/S2 mixture. When raising the
coarse particle content to a ratio of 1:1, the spouting was obtained at a
supercial gas velocity of 0.28 m/s. Fig. 9b illustrates that a dominant
frequency is found at about 10 Hz for the A2/S2 mixture, and the signal
is more distinct than that of a mixture at the ratio of 2:1. However, the
dominant frequency is still not clearly shown for the A2/S1 mixture
and again the frequencies are widely distributed. From the above
analysis, it can be concluded that larger particles show more profound
impact on improving spouting stability of ne particles.
4.2.2. Effect of mixture particle density
To investigate the effect of particle density, experiments were performed in binary mixtures of A2 particles with two coarse particles
(S2 particles and glass beads) at three volume ratios of A2/coarse
particles = 4:1, 2:1 and 1:1. Fig. 10a shows the power spectrum of
different mixtures at a volume ratio of 4:1. It can be seen in this gure
that the dominant frequencies cannot be found and frequencies are
widely distributed for both mixtures, implying that the spouting is not
stable and low frequency gas turbulence dominates dynamics in the
bed. However, the A2/GB mixture shows relatively stable spouting as
narrower distributions of frequencies, ranging from 5 Hz to 15 Hz, is observed, compared to a range of 4 Hz18 Hz for the A2/S2 mixture. With
increasing the coarse particle content to 2:1 A2/coarse particles ratio, a
dominant frequency appears at about 6 Hz for the A2/S2 mixture as
shown in Fig. 10b. Similarly, the dominant frequency for the A2/GB mixture is clearly shown at 10 Hz, but two interference frequencies appear

Fig. 10. The spectrum analysis of systems with different density.

W. Du et al. / Powder Technology 276 (2015) 134143

at 6 Hz and 15 Hz, corresponding to the dominant frequencies in single

sized A2 and GB systems, respectively. The results reveal that the mixing
degree for mixtures with larger density difference such as the A2/GB
system becomes poor and particle separation occurs in the spouted
bed. Further evidence can be found from Fig. 10c for 1:1 mixing ratio
mixtures. It is clearly shown that a dominant frequency of 10 Hz is observed for the A2/S2 mixture and interference frequencies are greatly
dampened. However, for the A2/GB system, the two enhanced interference frequencies appear at 6 Hz and 15 Hz, indicate that the particle
separation is remarkable in the mixtures. In addition, the amplitude of
dominant frequency decreases from 30 to 20 as compared with that
shown in Fig. 10b. Therefore, the density difference in the mixture
cannot be too big even their particle sizes are similar for purposes of
improving spouting stability.
Despite that the spouting stability can be improved in the binary system, the separation of particles may occur due to too large differences in
particle densities and particle sizes. The poor mixing will lead to undesired ow patterns. In order to further understand the effect of mixing
degree on the spouting, spectrum analysis was conducted with the
pressure signals collected in binary mixtures with A2 particles mixed
with three coarse particles, S1, S2, and GB. As the density and the size
of GB particles are greatly larger than those of the A2 particles, particle
segregation is notable and the stratied spouting and bubbling are observed as shown in Fig. 11a. The dominant frequency in this mixture is
found to be at about 10 Hz, whereas two interference frequencies appear at 6 Hz and 15 Hz, indicating the three particle circulations in the
system, i.e., the separated GB and A2 particles and the uniform mixture.
In the A2/S2 mixture, the system shows a better spouting as illustrated
in Fig. 11b with the dominant frequency more clearly shown at 10 Hz.
However, there still exists an interference frequency at 6 Hz, indicating
that some A2 particles are separated from the mixture in the spouting
process. Since the A3 and S1 particles have closest particle sizes and
densities, the particles are well mixed without segregation and the


mixture has the best spouting stability. Fig. 11c shows that the
dominant frequency is 14 Hz, and the narrowest frequency distribution
is obtained. The results are in close agreement with Chao et al., [52] that
the ne particle content is of crucial important for stable uidization of
binary particle system.
4.2.3. Effect of mixing particle ratio
As stated earlier, the spouting stability for the single A2 particle system is poor due to its smaller size. However, adding S2 particles with a
similar particle density to A2 particles, the spouting range and stability
can be greatly improved. This nding can be further veried by the pressure uctuation analysis. Fig. 12 shows the relationships of the average
pressure drops and the standard deviations against the coarse particle
content. All measurements were taken at minimum spouting velocities.
In general, the average pressure drop for the single sized A2 particle
(625 Pa) decreases to 410 Pa for a single sized S2 particle spouted bed
when the coarse particle content increases from 0 to 1. A slight increase
in the standard deviation from that for the single sized A2 particle in the
spouted bed is attributed to that the lower supercial gas velocity is required for spouting a single sized A2 system. As the content of the coarse
particle increases, it starts to increase and then drops after the volume
ratio reaches 4:1. This decrease in the standard deviations indicates
that the particle motion in the spouted bed becomes more regular and
a more stable spouting is attained.
The results of spectral analysis of the total bed pressure uctuations
are shown in Fig. 13. As the content of coarse particles increases, the frequency distribution becomes narrower, as illustrated in Fig. 13a towards
Fig. 13e. A dominant peak at around 10 Hz appears in Fig. 13e for a mixture with more coarse particles. When the binary mixture contains
more ne particles (A2), the spouting is not stable and the frequency
distribution is broad with no dominant frequency found. In addition,
the multiple peaks observed in Fig. 13a and 13b could be related to
the existence of several periodical circulating components in the bed.
As the peak frequency turns to be more distinct, the amplitude also
increases. For instance, it increases from 7 in Fig. 13c to 24 in Fig. 13e
at 10 Hz. Compared to denser coarse particles such as glass beads,
lighter coarse particles (density similar with that of ne particles) are
more favorably utilized to improve spouting stability for ne particles,
as evidenced by more distinct dominant frequencies with higher amplitudes observed in the pressure time series.
5. Conclusions
In this work, the pressure drop and uctuation signals were measured in spouted beds of binary mixtures. Both statistical and frequency

Fig. 11. Effect of mixing degree on spectrum analysis.

Fig. 12. Effect of mixing ratio on average value and standard deviation.


W. Du et al. / Powder Technology 276 (2015) 134143

b1 b6

Fig. 13. Effect of mixing ratio on amplitude spectrum analysis.

domain analysis were employed to identify ow regime transitions in

the spouted bed. The following main conclusions can be drawn:
1. The trend of the pressure drop against supercial gas velocities for
mixed particles in spouted beds is similar with that for single sized
particle systems. However, the peak pressure drop is related to the
mixing degree of the mixture, which is mainly determined by the
inter-particle forces. The mixture density and mixing ratios both
show an impact on the pressure drop uctuations. The stress
between coarse and ne particles in a binary particle system is greatly less than the internal friction for a single sized particle system,
leading to a better spouting stability in the binary system.
2. The pressure drop signals at static bed and stable spouting bed are
regular but highly uctuating in slugging regime. More irregular
and uctuated signals are found for binary particle mixtures as compared with that for single sized particle systems at the same spouting
regime. The statistic characteristics of pressure drop time series
(average value, standard deviation and probability distributions)
are different for different ow regimes. Therefore, it can be used for
the reorganization of these ow regimes and their transitions.
3. The spouting stability of a binary system was evaluated by a power
spectrum analysis. Narrower frequency distribution has been observed for well mixed systems while no dominant frequency is
shown for spouted beds at unstable spouting conditions.
4. Our results suggest that spouting stability in spouted beds with ne
particles can be improved by mixed with coarse particles. However,
the density difference in the mixture cannot be too large even if the
particle sizes of the two particles are quite similar. Addition of lighter
(similar density with that of ne particles) but larger (in diameter)
coarse particles is more effective in improving spouting stability of
ne particles in spouted beds.

constants in pressure drop equation regressed by

non-linear analysis
drag coefcient
column diameter
particle diameter
average particle diameter

diameter of large particles

diameter of small particles
orice diameter
dominant frequency
probability density function
gravitational constant
packing bed height
maximum bed pressure drop
spouting pressure drop
averaged pressure drop


power spectral density

supercial gas velocity
bulk volume
bulk volume of 1# Al2O3
bulk volume of 2# Al2O3
bulk volume of 3# Al2O3
bulk volume of 1 silica gel particles
bulk volume of 1 silica gel particles
bulk volume of glass beads
the mass content of the large particles
the mass content of the small particles


Greek letters



solid volume fraction

gas volume fraction
uidparticle interaction coefcient
gas viscosity
particle bulk density
gas density
particle density
mixing particle density
density of the large particles
density of the small particles
delay time of reconstruction
particle sphericity
autocorrelative function
standard deviation
average absolute deviation
power spectral function


Ergun equation
WenYu equation
minimum spouting
large particle
small particle




Authors should thank the National Natural Science Foundation of
China under Grant No. 21076230 and No. 21176256 and the Science
Foundation of China University of Petroleum, Beijing (No. KYJJ201203-01) for funding this project.
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