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Title: CFD-DEM modelling of two-phase pneumatic conveying with experimental validation
Author: Ebrahimi, Mohammadreza
ISNI:       0000 0004 5353 409X
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2014
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A wide range of industrial processes involve multiphase granular flows. These include catalytic reactions in fluidized beds, the pneumatic conveying of raw materials and gas-particle separators. Due to the complex nature of multiphase flows and the lack of fundamental understanding of the phenomena in a multiphase system, appropriate design and optimized operation of such systems has remained a challenging field of research. Design of these processes is hampered by difficulties in upscaling pilot scale results, the difficulties involved in experimental measurements and in finding reliable numerical modelling methods. Significant work has been carried out on numerical modelling of multiphase systems but challenges remain, notably computational time, appropriate definition of boundary conditions, relative significance of effects such as lift and turbulence and the availability of reliable model validation. The work presented in this thesis encompasses experimental and numerical investigations of horizontal pneumatic conveying. In the experimental work, carefully controlled experiments were carried out in a 6.5 m long, 0.075 m diameter horizontal conveying line with the aid of the laser Doppler anemometry (LDA). Initially, LDA measurements were performed to measure the gas velocity in clear flow. Good agreement was observed between the theory and experimental measurements. For two-phase experiments, spherical and non-spherical particles with different sizes and densities were used to study the effect of particle size and solid loading ratio on the mean axial particle velocity. Three different sizes of spherical glass beads, ranging from 0.9 mm to 2 mm and cylindrical shaped particle of size 1x1.5 mm were employed. It was found that by increasing the particle size and solid loading ratios, the mean axial particle velocity decreased. Turbulence modulation of the carrier phase due to the presence of spherical particles was also investigated by measuring fluctuating gas velocity for clear gas flow and particle laden flow with different particle sizes and solid loading ratios. Results suggested that for the size ranges of particles tested, the level of gas turbulence intensity increased significantly by adding particles, and the higher the solid loading ratio, the higher the turbulence intensity. With the rapid advancement of computer resources and hardware, it is now possible to perform simulations for multiphase flows. For a fundamental understanding of the underlying phenomena in pneumatic conveying, the coupled Reynolds averaged Navier-Stokes and discrete element method (RANS-DEM) was selected. The aim of the modelling section of this study was to evaluate the abilities of coupled RANSDEM to predict the phenomena occurring in a research-sized pneumatic conveying line. Simulations for both one-way and two-way RANS-DEM coupling were performed using the commercial coupled software FLUENT-EDEM in an Eulerian- Lagrangian framework, where the gas is simulated as a continuum medium, while solid phase is treated as a discrete phase. In one-way coupling simulations, a considerable discrepancy in mean axial particle velocity was observed compared to the experimental results, meaning two-way coupling was required. It was further found that the inclusion of Magnus lift force due to particle rotation was essential to reproduce the general behaviour observed in the experiments. Turbulence modulation also was investigated numerically. Experimental and simulation results of gas and particle velocities were compared showing that the RANS-DEM method is a promising method to simulate pneumatic conveying. However, some discrepancy between simulation and experimental results was observed. Most studies in two-phase flow fields have focused on spherical particles. However the majority of particles encountered in industry involve non-spherical granules which show considerably different transportation behaviour compared with spherical particles. Further modelling of cylindrical particles was conducted using a multisphere model to represent cylindrical particles in the DEM code. Drag and lift forces and torque equations were modified in the code to take the effect of particle orientation into account. The framework developed was evaluated for two test cases, indicating a good agreement with the analytical and experimental results. The transportation of isometric (low-aspect-ratio) non-spherical particles in pneumatic conveying was also modelled. The simulation results of mean axial particle velocity agreed well with the experimental measurements with the LDA technique.
Supervisor: Crapper, Martin; Easson, Bill; Ooi, Jin Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: CFD-DEM ; LDA ; pneumatic conveying