Development of an inverted stabilised bubble fluidised bed reactor for adsorptive processes
Granular Activated Carbon (GAC) is used in packed beds to treat trace quantities of icropollutants. Many years of research and industrial use has ensured that it is highly effective as a water treatment process. However, GAC is expensive and economic considerations mean it has to be recovered and re-used Powdered Activated Carbon (PAC; is a cheaper alternative but the particle size range means it is unsuitable for packed bed applications. This thesis describes a novel method for utilising PAC to treat micropollutants. By contacting carbon paracles with air bubbles, under conditions o.lrotational shear and a binding agent, oleyl alcohol, carbon-coated air bubbles form which remain stable while agitated byflowing water. A stabilised air bubble can be visualised as a phere with an impervious core (the air bubble), surrounded by a thin layer of porous matehal (PAC). Theory dictates that all these stabilised air bubbles can be moved counter-currently to a contaminated stream, higher throughputs than conventional packed beds are possible. Several aspects of this process are investigated. Bubble generation is critical and so the literature was reviewed to explain the mechanisms involved Practical use was made of this knowledge in designing a larger bubble generator. Transferring the coated-bubbles to a contacting column was difficult. Problems associated with the various methods employed are described and recommendations are made for improvement. The contacting column was used to assess the stability and adsorptive capacity of the bubbles. The possibility of counter-current flow using stabilised air bubbles was also evaluated and found to be incompatible with the current column design. The stabilised bubbles collected in the column resembled an inverted fluidised bed. Experiments were performed to test Richardson and Zaki's hydrodynamic laws for conventional fluidised beds were applicable to inverted beds. The adsorptive capacity of the bubbles was assessed by dosing the water with trace levels of phenol and p-chlorophenol. Samples taken from before and after the fluidised bed were analysed and compared. The results were inconclusive, although the concentration profile produced indicated that flow through the bubble bed was piston-flow.