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Geldart classification

10 100 1000 10000
Particle size, (m)





Classification of Powders

Geldart (1973) (Figure 3.3) classified powders
into four groups according to their fluidization
properties at ambient condition.
There are 4 stages of particles: Aerated (A),
Bubble (B), Cohesive (C) and Dense (D).

Group B

Bubbling at U
, thus U
~ U

Bubbles continue to grow,
never achieving a maximum

This makes poor fluidization
quality associated to large
pressure fluctuation.

However, lots of bubbles
produced results in less AP to
generate, thus less

Example: construction sand.

Group D

For B and D particles:
-No inter particle involve.

-Bed collapses instantly
when gas supply
-Short residence time in
oExample: paddy,
beans, soy etc.

Large particles able to produce
deep spout bed.
Need very large U
and AP to
It is a costly operation since lots of
air is needed for blowing.
Quite similar to group B particles,
i.e. U
~ U
Fluidization of group D and larger
group B particles: jet
circulation/spout bed technique
used to get circulation.
Example of operation: paddy drying.

Group A
For smaller particles structures where cohesivity becomes significant.

Lies between group C and free flowing particles (B).

Existence of forces that holds particles together when gas is supplied, bed
expands but does not bubble.

Non-bubbling fluidization at beginning of U
, followed by bubbling fluidization as
increases (a.k.a. aeratable state).

Aeratable state = transformation from cohesive to free-flowing particles type.

The freeboard has to be increased to allow for bed expansion.

Danger if the powder is left in a drum high voidage and it could cause blow-

Group A

> U
, bubbles are constantly splitting and coalescing, and maximum
stale bubble size is achieved.

Take long time to de-aerate after gas supply is cut-off.

Inter particle forces?? yes, but significantly smaller than hydrodynamic

Good quality and smooth fluidization.

Gas bubbles are in limited size, break down at high velocity and it gives
good gas/solid contact

Example: Fluid bed catalytic cracking (FCC) catalyst.

Group C
Very cohesive particles and do
not fluidized at all.
Inter particle forces are large
compared with the inertial forces
on the particles.
Structures are so strong:
At a given AP, not expanding and
resist aeration.
Upon fluidization, cracks and rat
hole form.
Slugging blows powder out.
Difficult to fluidize: inter particle
forces > hydrodynamic forces
exerted on the particles by the
fluidizing gas.
Pressure loss across the bed is
always less than apparent weight
of the bed cross sectional area
due to the particles not fully
supported by fluidizing gas.

Group C
Pressure loss across the bed is always less than
apparent weight of the bed cross sectional area due
to the particles not fully supported by fluidizing gas.
However, group C fluidization can be improved:
Mechanical help: vibration, mixer
Binary mixtures: act as flow conditioner

Many industrial processes use fine powders, e.g. pharmaceutical,
cosmetics, paint industries, food industries etc.

Thus, many researches going on to improve and predict the behaviour of
group C particles.

Example: the application of vibrations to the fluidized bed column.

With the aid of vibration, the bed is found to fluidize well and the pressure
drop across the bed is close to the theoretical pressure drop during

Theoretically, when vertical vibration is applied to a fluidized bed column,
the effect of forces between the bed and the distributor cause the break-
up of interparticle forces and this cause the particles to fluidize well.

According to Janssen et al. (1998), at a specific vibration frequency, the
ratio between distributors plate and the bed displacement increases with
an increase in vibration intensity.

This phenomenon caused the resultant force becomes bigger and
hence used to break the interparticle forces between the particles.

Hence, these results in better fluidization quality and smaller U

values obtained compared to fluidization without vibration.

Vibration also is predicted to be able to reduce the distance
between particles and this reduces the voidage in the bed.

This is due to small compaction during negative displacement or
due to the downward movement during half cycle of vibration.

However, equilibrium created between two mechanisms, i.e. the
effect of pressure on the bed during vibration and downward
movement which produced the compaction and hence led to a
stable fluidization.

The shape of bubble is a
hemispherical capped bubble.

The upper surface of the bubble
is approximately spherical, and
its radius of curvature is denoted
by r.

Since r is not readily
determinable, it is usually more
convenient to express the bubble
size as its volume-equivalent
diameter, i.e. the diameter of the
sphere whose volume is equal to
the bubble.

Bubbling fluidization also known
as lean phase.



V 6

Condition at where the powder
stops behaving like solids but
they behave like liquid two
phase system.

Bubbles are extremely important
in supplying circulation as they
are major circulating mechanism
hence, lead to mixing.

As bubbles rise, it grows and

If the bed is deep enough and
diameter of the column is small,

Then slugging could occur
This means problem because
slugging will push the powder up
and possibly out of the vessel.

Through bubbles, particles are
transported out of the bed.

Approximately, when U
superficial gas velocity equals to
particle terminal velocity, V
, then
carry over/entrainment could

Expansion of non-bubbling bed

Richardson and Zaki (1954) found the function f(c) which applied to
both hindered settling and to non-bubbling fluidization.

Thus, in general;

Khan and Richardson (1989), suggested the correlation in the
equation which permits the determination of the exponent n at
intermediate values of Re.

If the packed bed depth (H
) and voidage (c
) are known, then if
the mass remains constant, the depth at any voidage can be

T o
V U c =



27 . 0
57 . 0
4 . 2 1 Ar 043 . 0
4 . 2 n
n 8 . 4
( )
( )

For the optimization of a fluidization process, is
essential for predicting the beds behavior, for both
homogeneous and heterogeneous particles. The
prediction of the transport disengagement height
(TDH) is very important, which directly influences
the column's dimensions and the determination of
the appropriate placement of a cyclone, the
recycling system and the recovery of elutriated
Origin of the entrainment of solid particles:
Lewis (1962), and Kunii and Levenspiel (1991)
observed that the solid particles are released into
the freeboard because of bubbles burst up and
slugs. Figure 1 shows the three hypotheses
explaining this phenomenon.
Since the bubbles internal pressure is higher than
the bed's surface, they burst when reaching the
surface, releasing the particles from their upper
surface into the freeboard.(Figure 1a);
Because of the bubbles rapid growth, the solid
material present in its lower side (wake) is ejected
when it bursts (Fig. 1b);
When two bubbles coalesce at the moment its
reach the bed's surface, there is an energetic
ejection of the particles from the wake of bubble
(Figure 1c).

Entrainment and Elutriation of Solids from Fluidized Beds
Figure 1: Mechanism of ejection of solids
from a fluidized bed in the freeboard (Kunii
and Levenspiel, 1991)
Ejection of particles from the
surface of bubbling bed.
Also term as carry over and
Amongst the factors
influencing rate of
entrainment are:
gas velocity
particle density
particle size
fines fraction
vessel diameter
Increasing gas temperature
Increasing gas pressure

Ejection of particles from
fluidized bed depends on the
characteristics of the bed: i.e.
bubble size and velocity at

If terminal velocity, V
> U


If V
< U
particle will fall
back to the bed.

Region above the fluidized bed
Splash zone
Disengagement zone
Dilute-phase transport zone

Transport Disengangement height
In the study by Wen and
Chen (1982), the TDH is
considered to be the
distance between the
end of the fluidized
region and the height at
which the particles no
longer exist. It has also
been defined as the
region in which the
entrainment rate
becomes constant
(Figure 3).

Figure 3: Entrainment of
particles according to Wen
and Chen (1982).
Geldart (1986) defined the TDH as the region
where the fluidized solids fall back in the bottom
of the bed, and being specific to fine (F) and large
(C) particles:
(i) TDH (F): is the height at which the solid
concentration (especially fines), above the bed
surface, reaches a constant or a slight variation.
TDH (C): is the height where the large particles
(or clusters) are released to the freeboard, and
return to the bed.

TDH-Horio et al
Horio et al., (1983) have
characteristics of the
three freeboard regions,
shown in Figure 5. From
it, the splash's height is
differentiated from the
TDH's: the TDH would
be the sum of
the splash'sand the
diffusion zone heights.
Zenz e Weil (1958), e Fournol et
al. (1973) defined the TDH as a
height, and above it, the
entrainment rate and the particle
average diameter become
In Figure 2, Zenz and Weil (1958)
illustrate the particles movement
in the bed. It also shows a
theoretical model of particles
ejection from the bed surface,
and these particles would have
the same velocity as the bubble
velocity when leaning against the
bed surface. With each particle
ejected by the gas and affected
by the inertia, the gravitational
and the entrainment forces.
Some particles are continuously
carried out; while others only
reach a certain height, where
they fall back to the bed.

Zenz and Weil (1958) concluded that the
increase of entrainment rate is related
to the instability of the gas velocity
distribution, due increase of bubble
frequency. The increase in TDH (F)
results from the violent bursting of the
large bubbles, which are less frequent
in the bed.

Fournol et al., (1973) concluded that
the entrainment rate decreases rapidly
with the declining of fluidization
velocity and with the increasing height
above the bed.
Baron et al. (1988) e Geldart et al.
(1995) established that the gas velocity
strongly influences the TDH (F) height.

Sciazko et al. (1988, 1991) based their TDH(C)
study on the Pemberton and Davidson's
(1984) ghost bubbles theory. The particles
movement in a moving state can be
described by force balances. The authors
proved that excess velocity is the most
important parameter for the TDH.

Pinto et al., (1999) analyzed the
influence of three factors on the
entrainment of particles: fraction of
open area in the distributor, solid
mass and superficial gas velocity.
The material used was sand with
mean diameters between 268 and
711mm.Regarding the influence of
gas velocity on the homogeneous
particles, the authors observed an
increase in the TDH(C) only for the
low velocities.

Influence of Different Parameters on the TDH
Superficial Gas velocity
More recently, Cipolato et al., (2004) studied in
heterogeneous beds of large particles
=400mm), the influence of four
parameters: fraction of open area in the
distributor; solid mass; dispersion index and
gas velocity on the entrainment of large
particles through a factorial design. For a
fraction of open area of 1.4%, and two
velocities of 0.46 m/s and 1.60m/s, the TDH(C)
is practically equal, leading to the conclusion
that the velocity parameter did not affect this
Mass/height of solid
Hamdullahpur et al., (1986) conducted their
experiments in a rectangular fluidized bed of
0.319m 0.176m 4m. The entrainment gas was
at atmospheric pressure and room temperature.
The material used was sand with mean diameter
of 300mm (Geldart's group B). In addition to,
the experiments were realized for six different
velocities using the LDV (Laser Doppler
Velocimeter) system.

The axial velocity and turbulence intensity
were measured by the central axis and
crossing thefreeboard. The experiments
were performed at 5.2 and 12 cm of fixed-
bed, by applying velocities between 0.20
and 0.40 m/s. The authors noted that at
0.2 m/s, the gas velocity in the center of
the bed increased with the bed height;
however, for the other velocities, the
intensity was lower. The variation of
turbulent magnitude increased 35% with
the bed height. This confirms that the
freeboard turbulence is induced by the
bubbles eruption in the center of the bed,
and the level is highly dependent on the
bubble size.

Fournol et al., (1973) used FCC with mean
diameter of 58 mm as entrained material
and gas superficial velocity ranging from
0.11 to 0.22 m/s. The authors concluded
that the entrainment rate rapidly
decreases with the rise in bed height;
moreover, it depends on the reduction in
the fluidization velocity.

Pinto et al. (1999) worked
experimentaly using homogeneous
particles with mean diameter
between 268 and 711mm, a solid
mass from 1.0 to 3.0 kg, bed height
from 0.10 to 0.30, and both of a
perforated plate (1.4, 3.4 and 5.9% of
free area) and a Tuyere
distributor(1.4% of free area). From
the results, they observed that the
solid mass is the most influential
variable to the TDH.

Free board height
Wen and Chen (1982) proposed a model that describes
the entrainment of solid particles in
thefreeboard region of a fluidized bed. They concluded
that the entrainment of the particles rate decreased
exponentially with the increasing height of
the freeboard. The elutriation rate of the fine particles
was virtually independent of the fluid dynamics of the
bed, and both the entrainment and the elutriation
rates were affected by the column size. The elutriation
rate was especially affected by the column wall; where
the solid velocity is low.
Pinto et al., (1999) showed that the fraction of open
area in the distributor is not relevant to the TDH(C)
determination. They used both types of distributor; a
perforated plate one with 1.4, 3.4 and 5.9% open area
and a Tuyere with 1.4% open area, and the results were
substantial for the homogeneous particles averaging
from 268 and 711mm.
Cipolato et al., (2004) showed that the fraction of open
area in the distributor is not relevant to the TDH(C)
determination. In this paper, the authors used
perforated plate distributor with fraction of open areas
of 1.4 and 5.9%, obtaining a significant result for the
heterogeneous particles of mean diameter of 4000mm.

Fraction of Open Area in the Distributor
Column diameter
Zenz and Weil (1958) analyzed the effect of
column diameter on the TDH for diameters
ranging from 0.051 to 0.61 m. Being
noticeable in all cases a decrease in TDH,
caused by the walls effect (small diameters) as
well as by the poor distribution of the gas
phase (large diameters).
Empirical Correlation
Fournol et al., (1973) describes the
TDH (F) - as inversely proportional to
the Froude number. Despite this
proposition, the authors note that
this height is significantly higher than
predicted by Zenz and Weil (1958):

Hamdullahpur et al., (1986)
proposed an equation that
characterizes the TDH(C) as
dependent on the bubble

Baron et al., (1988)
suggested a new
correlation to estimate
the TDH(F), in which the
maximum height reached
by the large clusters is
directly proportional to
the velocity square of the
particle (KU
) ejection,
which in turn would be
the gas velocity:
Sciazko et al., (1988) have
shown though, that the ratio
between both the splash-
zone height and the bed
height is strongly influenced
by the excess gas velocity (U-
). This volumetric fraction
would be the critical value of
the bubbles fraction, which is
related to the difference in the
excess gas velocities

Sciazko et al., (1991)
determined a new correlation
for the TDH(C) depending on
the diameter of the bubble on
the bed surface:

Pinto et al., (1999) proposed a
correlation for the TDH(C)
depending on the physical
characteristics of both the
particles (particle diameter),
and the gas (density and
viscosity) and the operating
conditions (solid mass and gas

Cipolato et al., (2004
stablished a new correlation
for the TDH(C) depending on
the solid mass through the
statistical analysis, for a first
order model with two

The design of a fluidized bed reactor should be done as to minimize
the velocity of the entrainment of particles. Two solutions are
usually adjusted: to increase the cross section above the bed
surface, and to predict the reactor's gas outlet from a height above
the TDH. Devices can be added inside or above the bed to reduce
the entrainment, e.g., stirrers, grids, vertical and horizontal baffles
and cyclones (Geldart, 1986).
The elutriation phenomenon can follow a first order process, i.e.,
the elutriation velocity of the particle size (d
) is proportional to the
mass fraction (x
) of the particles in the reactor:

Where is the elutriation constant velocity of particles

There are several correlations in terms of proposed in the
literature and two of them are summarizing in Table 1:
Entrainment rate
The determination of the entrainment requires
knowledge of concentrations of each particle
size in the bed. Figure 10 shows a general
case and the various possible combinations
(Geldart, 1986). For example:
Without feed, 100% efficient cyclone; total
recycle of product on cyclone;
Continuous feed, cyclone's efficiency varies
depending on dpi; partial recycle of the fines.
No matter the arrangement, the mass balances of
each component and global must be
reached. As an illustration, it is assumed that
=0, and F and Q are different from zero.
The mass balance of the fraction considering
given by:

The global mass balance given by:


In addition, in a well-mixed bed: xQ
Substituting in the mass balance for each
particle size and re-arranging:

Figure 9: Balance of the components around
a fluidized bed (Geldart, 1986)
This equation cannot be directly solved
because RT depends on the values from x
each fraction. In practice a rapid convergence
and an interaction error can be avoided by
using R
=0 in the first attempt.
If the freeboard height is greater than 2m, and
the column's diameter exceeds about 0.2 m,
then for the fraction sizes will have U
/U <
0.5, This simplifies the calculations.

Batch operation

For batch operation, the rates of entrainment of each size range,
the total entrainment rate and the particle size distribution of bed
change with time.
Thus, the formula,

where is the mass of solids in size range, i entrained in
time increment, At.

By assuming that the mass of bed, M
does not change significantly
with time, At thus:

( ) t Ax K M x
ih B Bi
A A =
( )
B Bi
M x A


Bio Bi
At K
exp x x
Terminal velocity,Vt
For spherical particles
Laminar region (Re
< 0.2)
< 33 m

Turbulent region, (Re

> 1500 m C
~ 0.43

Transition region, 0.2 < Re
< 1000


( )

v g p
ST t

( )
v g p

43 . 0

( )
3 2
v g p g t D
gd C =
g p