Viscous liquids in bubble columns
This dissertation is concerned with studies of highly viscous Newtonian and non-Newtonian liquids in bubble columns with, and without, draft tubes. The importance of the parameters influencing bubble column reactors is discussed with reference to previous work. The shapes and rise velocities of single bubbles in these liquids were studied in an 8.8cm diameter column, and the gas holdup, resulting from continuous bubbling of gas into this column, was also measured. Agreement between holdup predicted by the equation of Nicklin et al (1962), and experimental data in die present work and that of other workers is good. The limiting result of Dumitrescu (1943) was found to apply for fully developed slug flow in viscous non-Newtonian liquids in large columns. Gas holdup, in a 15cm diameter bubble column with a draft tube, consisted of large bubbles (slugs), which rapidly rose through the liquid, and very small bubbles, which accumulated in the liquid. These small bubbles were generated near the gas distributor and also at the liquid surface; less than 1% of the total gas flowrate into the system was converted into small bubbles for a highly viscous Newtonian liquid. The gas holdup due to small bubbles in non-Newtonian liquids was much less than that in Newtonian liquids. Large bubble velocities deduced from the bubble column measurements were consistent with the single bubble measurements. Liquid velocities in the 15cm column were measured by a neutrally buoyant flow follower; the liquid circulation rate was found to decrease with an increase in liquid viscosity. A model to predict the liquid circulation rate is outlined. The effect of scale-up on the gas holdup and liquid circulation rate was also studied experimentally in a 60cm square bubble column with a 30cm square draft tube. The bubble size distribution in this column was similar to the 15cm column but liquid velocities were higher, and gas holdup was smaller in the 60cm column.