Studies in three phase gas-liquid-solid fluidised systems
The work is a logical continuation of research started at Aston some years ago when studies were conducted on fermentations in bubble columns. The present work highlights typical design and operating problems that could arise in such systems as waste water, chemical, biochemical and petroleum operations involving three-phase, gas-liquid-solid fluidisation; such systems are in increasing use. It is believed that this is one of few studies concerned with `true' three-phase, gas-liquid-solid fluidised systems, and that this work will contribute significantly to closing some of the gaps in knowledge in this area. The research work was mainly experimentally based and involved studies of the hydrodynamic parameters, phase holdups (gas and solid), particle mixing and segregation, and phase flow dynamics (flow regime and circulation patterns). The studies have focused particularly on the solid behaviour and the influence of properties of solids present on the above parameters in three-phase, gas-liquid-solid fluidised systems containing single particle components and those containing binary and ternary mixtures of particles. All particles were near spherical in shape and two particle sizes and total concentration levels were used. Experiments were carried out in two- and three-dimensional bubble columns. Quantitative results are presented in graphical form and are supported by qualitative results from visual studies which are also shown as schematic diagrams and in photographic form. Gas and solid holdup results are compared for air-water containing single, binary and ternary component particle mixtures. It should be noted that the criteria for selection of the materials used are very important if true three-phase fluidisation is to be achieved: this is very evident when comparing the results with those in the literature. The fluid flow and circulation patterns observed were assessed for validation of the generally accepted patterns, and the author believes that the present work provides more accurate insight into the modelling of liquid circulation in bubble columns. The characteristic bubbly flow at low gas velocity in a two-phase system is suppressed in the three-phase system. The degree of mixing within the system is found to be dependent on flow regime, liquid circulation and the ratio of solid phase physical properties. Evidence of strong `trade-off' of properties is shown; the overall solid holdup is believed to be a major parameter influencing the gas holdup structure.