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C 1997 Elsevm Science Ltd. All rights reserved

Printed in &eat Britain

PII: SOOO9-2509(97)00038-9 OOO!-2509/97 $17.00 + 0.00

trickle-bed reactors using capacitance

tomography

Nicolas Reinecke and Dieter Mewes*

Institut fur Verfahrenstechnik, Universitat Hannover, Callinstralje 36, D-30167 Hannover,

Germany

(Received 19 March 1996; in revised form 29 July 1996; accepted 27 August 1996)

lar packings of trickle-bed reactors require a detailed knowledge of the flow phenomena inside

the packing. A visual observation of the flow from the outside of the column does not yield the

desired information, especially for large-scale pilot-plant reactors. Therefore, new measurement

techniques are required to obtain the necessary information for the physical description of the

flow, especially for scale-up calculations. In this paper, the possibilities of tomographic imaging

of the two-phase flow in trickle-bed reactors using capacitance tomography are discussed. The

current state of the art of this new measurement technique is discussed and the details of the

system used by the authors are described. The principle of the measurement technique is

explained and the possibility of obtaining new information pointed out. Preliminary results of

this new imaging technique are presented. 0 1997 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved

graphy.

Tomographic measurement techniques have been and scattering (CAT) (Ikeda et al., 1983; Toye et al.,

applied to medical imaging for over 20 years and they 1996; Kantzas, 1994), nuclear magnetic resonance

are now a standard diagnostic tool for many pur- (NMR, MRI) (Gladden, 1994, 1995; Fordham et al.,

poses. The use of tomographic imaging techniques in 1993), microwave reflection and diffraction (Bolomey

process engineering applications has not been con- et al., 1990), ultrasonic/acoustic techniques (Seiraffi,

sidered as long, but is becoming increasingly popular. 1993), interferometry and holographic tomography

These measurement techniques allow for two- or (Mewes and Fellholter, 1993) and electrical and elec-

three-dimensional imaging of various processes in tromagnetical field interaction (ECT, EIT, EMT)

chemical and mechanical engineering industries. (Klug and Mayinger, 1993; Wang et al., 1993, 1994;

Using several possible physical principles to measure Abdullah et al., 1993; Xie et al., 1992; Isaksen and

the integral value used for the reconstruction, the Nordtvedt, 1992; Boddem et al., 1994; Yu et a/.,1993).

phase-, the temperature- and the concentration-distri- The different measurement principles can be classified

bution, as well as velocity distribuitions can be cal- according to the interaction with the medium to be

culated. In addition, some techniques allow for the imaged and the type of physical property measured.

property sensitive investigation of labeled compo- The interactions range from transmission, diffraction,

nents or phases. The advantage of all these techniques refraction, reflection, scattering and emission, while

is the possible space-imaging without intrusion into the physical property measured can be nucleonic or

the process. photon rays, high- and low-energy electromagnetic

For the tomographic reconstruction, integral mea- fields or waves and physical waves. Depending on the

surements have to be made. These can be obtained in specific technique used, different advantages and dis-

numerous ways. There are, for example, positron or advantages regarding the accuracy, frequency and

photon emission (PET, SPECT) (Parker et al., 1994; resolution of the reconstructed images and thus ap-

plications can be identified. Furthermore, for indus-

trial applications, the cost of the system as well as the

fault-tolerance are decisive.

*Corresponding author. Tel.: + +49-(0)51 l-762-3826; fax: Most applications of process tomography in the

+ +49-(0)51 l-762-3031; e-mail: nico@c36.uni-hannover.de. chemical industry require the imaging of fast changing,

2111

2112 N. Reinecke and D. Mewes

most multiphase flows of interest. It requires the

tomography system to have the capability of very fast

data acquisition and for control purposes, often on-line

image reconstruction. Furthermore, the measurement

volume is often not a simple circular pipe but a rather

complex geometry, such as process equipment con-

taining impellers or catalysts (McKee et al., 1994; Xie

et al., 1995). In addition to that, more than two differ-

ent phases can be present, making the imaging tasks

even more difficult.

The application of tomographic measurement tech- measurement

volume step k

niques for research purposes poses different demands

on the tomographic system. Here, the accuracy and

Ul

the resolution of the imaging system are very impor-

tant as well as the measurement speed. The necessity

for on-line image reconstruction is often relaxed, so

that more sophisticated reconstruction algorithms

can be applied off-line. Furthermore, in laboratory

applications the robustness of the system is not strictly

required.

One tomographic measurement technique that is

well suited to both research and industrial applications

is capacitance tomography. The sensors required for

the imaging are robust and relatively cheap and the measurement

step k+l

actual data generation and acquisition well reported volume

(see, for example, Xie et al., 1995). An on-line

reconstruction of the measured phase distribution is (cl

possible using simple reconstruction algorithms such

as backprojection running on parallel computing

architectures. A more sophisticated iterative recon-

struction like ART yields better results but needs

more computing power (see, for example, Reinecke

and Mewes, 1994). Altogether, capacitance tomogra- U,

phy offers a very useful tool for a number of process

engineering applications. In this paper, the applica-

tion of capacitance tomography for the imaging of

two-phase flow in trickle-bed reactors is reported.

Particular interest will be paid to the highly instationary

flow regimes encountered in these types of reactors. step k+2

2. MEASUREMENT PRINCIPLE

Fig. 1. Schematic representation of the capacitance as

a function of the size and distribution of the permittivity.

In capacitance tomography, the interaction of a

permittivity distribution with an electrical field applied

For a homogeneous permittivity distribution, eq. (1)

to the measurement volume is used for the generation

can be simplified to yield the well known Laplace

of the integral measurements required for the recon-

equation

struction. The capacitance of two electrodes is a func-

tion of the permittivity of the components in the grad[s(x,y)] =0 + Acp(x,y) =O. (2)

measurement volume as well as their distribution.

The integral capacitance C which is measured by the

This is schematically shown in Fig. 1. The relation-

peripheral electrodes 1 and 2 can then be obtained

ship between the permittivity, the spatial distribution

through

of the permittivity and the resulting capacitance can

be derived from Maxwell’s equations (Maxwell, 1892).

Cc-= Q $j&,y)EdA

When the dielectric displacement D and the electrical

‘pz - ‘pl 42 -41

field density E are replaced by the spatial distribution

of the electrical potential cp(x,y) and permittivity = ffa&(x,y)grad(cp(x,y))dA

E(X,y), Poisson’s equation can be derived (3)

(P2 -‘PI

A+> Y) + - grad Cdx, ~11grad CG, Y)I =O.

4% Y) driving and measuring electrode and A the directed

(1) normal area of integration on the electrode surface.

Two-phase flow in trickle-bed reactors 2113

From eq. (1) it is evident that Poisson’s equation is exchange of the different components and a better

linear with reference to the electrical potential distri- assessment of the measurement errors associated with

bution but non-linear with reference to the permittiv- the individual part. The sensor generally consists of

ity distribution. Therefore, the integral capacitance peripherally mounted electrodes manufactured from

calculated from eq. (3) is a non-linear function of the conducting foil and a casing giving it mechanical

permittivity distribution. In contrast to any ray trans- stability and electromagnetic stray immunity. The

mission techniques, capacitance tomography is thus sensor electronics are used to do the sequential sam-

a non-linear technique yielding either very computa- pling of the electrodes, while the measurement instru-

tionally intensive iterative forward solutions or ment is used for the measurement of the capacitance

linearization procedures with inherent errors in the between the electrodes. The set of measurements is

reconstruction. In addition, it is also evident that an transfered to a computer, where the reconstruction is

inversion of eqs (1) and (3) with reference to the done.

permittivity distribution is not possible, which is com-

mon to most tomographic techniques mainly because 3. CAPACITANCE TOMOGRAPHY SYSTEM

Therefore, it is only possible to calculate the In Fig. 3 the primary capacitance sensor used for

capacitance from a known permittivity distribution the present study is shown schematically. It consists of

and not vice versa. three planes of identically segmented electrodes.

In order to obtain a two-dimensional tomographic A grounded shield is placed around them to ensure

image of a phase distribution inside the measurement electromagnetic stray immunity. Two sets of driven

volume, several linearly independent measurements of shield electrodes above and below the measurement

the capacitance between electrodes have to be made. electrodes are used to focus the electrical field to

The electrodes used for the measurement are placed a known volume. This was implemented to allow for

peripherally around the measurement volume. Rather a two-dimensional representation of the electric field

than having one sender and one receiver electrode as within the measurement plane, as well as a defined

would be used for linear transmission techniques like measurement volume. In Fig. 4 the resulting sche-

CAT, both electrodes are involved in generating an matic representation of the axial distribution of the

electrical field which is distorted by the permittivity electric field is shown. The electric field across the

distribution within the measurement volume. Due to measurement volume is very homogeneous. There-

the electrical field interactions between fields gene- fore, change of permittivity approaching the measure-

rated by different electrodes, the measurement of the ment volume only results in a change of the measured

different linearly independent capacitances is conduc- capacitance when the tip of the measurement elec-

ted by sequentially sampling different pairs of elec- trodes is reached. Due to the increase in homogeneity

trodes This can be explained using Fig. 1. In the first of the electric field and the lack of effects it is possible

cycle the capacitance is measured between electrodes to reduce the dimension of the measurement plane to

1 and 2, in the second cycle between 1 and 3, in the 30 mm. This reduction yields a more exact two-dimen-

third cycle between 1 and 4 and so on. Thus, a set of sional representation of the measurement and elimin-

linearly independent measurements is obtained. ates the axial integration effects.

In Fig. 2, a schematic representation of the When operating the 16-electrode sensor, a versatile

measurement chain for capacitance tomography is programming was developed. This allows for several

shown. It consists of the primary sensor system, of the electrode segments adjacent to one another

the sensor electronics and capacitance measurement to be used as one electrode. This procedure does

instrument and the computer for the reconstruction. not immediately increase the number of linearly

This type of generalization allows for a better independent measurements since they are determined

sensor

permittivity distribution

measurement volume

Fig. 2. Schematic representation of the measurement chain.

2114 N. Reinecke and D. Mewes

(a)

shield

electrode

(b)

by the smallest segmentation of the electrode plane, linearity, the spatial amplification and the resolution

i.e. the number of single electrode segments. With an in the center of the sensor (Reinecke and Mewes, 1994,

increase in the number of electrode segments per 1995a).

electrode, though, the signal level and thus the signal-

to-noise ratio (SNR) is increased, while the spatial 3.2. Sensor electronics and capacitance measurement

resolution is decreased. Considering two sensors with In capacitance tomography, the encountered

equal electrode area (and thus signal level) but differ- capacitances are usually high (several pF) with the

ent numbers of segments per electrode, the sensor variations to be detected being very small (typically

with the higher number of segments per electrode will a few fF) at very high sampling rates (typically

yield an increase in the total number of linearly inde- 5-15 kHz). The electrical current then flowing onto the

pendent measurements, since a smaller rotational electrode does so in only a finite time, setting a physical

step-size is possible. The total number of measure- limit to the sampling frequencies. In addition, the stray

ments per image determines the imaging speed and immunity of the circuit is very important to avoid

the image resolution. The electrodes not involved in extensive noise on the very small signal level.

a measurement are left floating, which results in vir- The measurement technique used in the present

tual source electrodes around the measurement vol- study consists of a commercial capacitance meter

ume. This increases the signal level, the SNR, the based on an AC-bridge capacitance measurement

Two-phase flow in trickle-bed reactors 2115

U, I 1-I u,=o

low

pass

*

low

pass

-1

_---------- I I

I

I

I

II 18bit

DAC I

16 bit I

I

PC

8OC166 OAC I

18 bit I

OAC

I

reference impedance I

I

I

I feedback loop. balancing clrcult I

-----------------------~~----- --------_

circuit. This is shown schematically in Fig. 5. A signal tional to the capacitance is available. Using this tech-

generator is used to drive one electrode of unknown nique, accurate and stable capacitance measurements

capacitance. The resulting current on the other elec- are possible due to a low baseline drift and high SNR.

trode is converted to a voltage and then amplified. The same technique is also employed by other investi-

By using a reference voltage 90” phase shifted, a de- gators including Yang et al. (1992, 1993) and Klug

modulation is possible and an analog signal propor- and Mayinger (1993). Commercial instruments can

2116 N. Reinecke and D. Mewes

typically be operated at measurement frequencies of

14 kHz with accuracies of 0.5-0.1 fF. The accuracy of

the measurement increases with decreasing measure-

ment frequency. A further improvmment of the

measurement accuracy can be obtained when the AC-

bridge is balanced using a micro-controller in a feed-

back loop. This is indicated in Fig. 5 by the boxed

components. This technique is employed by Yang linearizationdata

(b) 1 [i.e. sensitivity]

et al. (1994). Due to the iteration measurement,

though, the sampling frequencies are somewhat lower.

3.3. Reconstruction

A simple and very fast reconstruction algorithm is

the backprojection algorithm. It is schematically

shown in Fig. 6(a). The algorithm corresponds to the

filtered backprojection algorithm popular for linear

tomography. The integral measurement value of every

Fig. 6. Schematic representation of the reconstruction

mesurement is distributed across the measurement

algorithms.

plane according to a weighting or sensitivity matrix

Si(x, y) which is unique for an electrode combination

i and obtained a priori by

With the exponent n = 1 the constant h* can be cal-

ACi culated by

Si(X2.V) = z

A-O

It represents a spatial amplification of the sensor

system (AC) at volume fractions of zero (&A-+O). Due

to the non-linearity of this imaging technique, this (8)

linear approach results in relatively large reconstruc-

tion errors. The iteration is continued until the error AC: is

For the present investigation, an iterative recons- below a given value. The reconstruction is done in a

truction technique was used. This is schematically Cartesian coordinate system with 32 x 32 pixels for

shown in Fig. 6(b). In the iteration, the forward calcu- the entire cross section of the imaging plane (Reinecke

et al., 1996).

lation is done using a finite difference calculation of

the electrical field and thus the capacitance. Due to

the computationally intensive FD calculation, the 3.4. Additional data-processing

reconstruction time is high (several seconds per 3.4.1. Time-correction. In most applications of

image) and an on-line reconstruction is not possible. capacitance tomography, the sequentially obtained

The optimization of the assumed permittivity and measurement values for the different combinations of

phase distribution is done using a set of sensitivities the electrodes are used for the reconstruction of one

defined in eq. (4). This calculation procedure is similar image. This is no problem if the imaging time is much

to the algebraic reconstruction technique (ART) used lower than the ratio of the length of the electrodes to

for linear tomography (Sweeney, 1972). For the elec- the structural velocity of the flow. If the structural

trode combination i and the iteration step k the velocity of the flow is high, the time lag between the

calculated dimensionless capacitance CR and the sequential measurements used for one frame is too

measured dimensionless capacitance C& yield the large. This can be the case for instationary flows in

error AC? trickle-bed reactors. Therefore, the velocity of the

measured flow field is limited not only by the frequency

ACTk = CR~i- Cg,i and C~lii =~[cx(x, y)] of the individual measurements but also by the frequency

of the reconstructed frames.

c-co Using a calculation method described by Reinecke

and C*=-.

CL -Co et al. (1995), a time correction between the sequential

measurements can be made. Therefore, the integral

The correction of the assumed phase distribution

measurements for one frame are all at the same virtual

a(x, y) is done using

time. Using an interpolation technique, it is possible

to increase the allowable transients of the measured

ah+’6, Y) = a’(~,Y) + N(x, Y),i, 4, (6) phases and still obtain images which are less blurred.

where h is an additive function of the sort The general shape of the interpolation function to be

fitted into the data can be determined beforehand by

continuously measuring every individual electrode

configuration.

Two-phase flow in trickle-bed reactors 2117

3.4.2. Velocity calculation. When the tomographic From eq. (11) it is evident that the derivative of the

sensor used for the measurement consists of only one measured integral void fraction across the sensor in

measurement plane without any axial extension, the the axial direction is equal to the difference between

correlation of signals from two sensors is the only the local void fraction entering and leaving the sensor.

possible way to achieve a measurement of the velocity. A structure entering the sensor at a time tl and pass-

In the case of capacitance tomography, though, the ing through the sensor without significantly changing

measurement plane of the sensor is extended in the will exit from the measurement volume at a time step

axial direction. For the measurement of the velocity r* later. If a pseudo-autocorrelation function of the

distribution, this axial extension of the measurement form

plane can be used for the calculation of the velocity of

the interphase within the measurement volume from

= @AU

the measured capacitances. ,+r

Due to the driven axial guard electrodes, the axial (12)

sensitivity of the sensor system is a homogeneous

distribution as shown in Fig. 4. The relative motion of is defined, it is possible to determine 7* from

the flow inside the measurement volume can be repre-

sented as the sensor moving over a given void fraction d@m

@ AKF + local maximum, or - =o. (13)

[Fig. 7(a)]. The resulting integral measurement is dr i*

given in Fig. 7(b) and can be calculated by

The absolute value of the maximum is only local since

.X+0 the autocorrelation function has its absolute max-

GI‘+r(x)

=; a(~‘) dx’. (9) imum for 7 =O. It is a global maximum in the sense,

sX

that QAKF(0)~0. It is therefore possible to calculate

Assuming a constant velocity u0 it becomes possible the average velocity of the two-phase flow from the

to replace x. Therefore, one can write integral capacitance measurements (Reinecke and

Mewes, 1995b).

EMCt& + dt)l - 4vo t)

=-[S

00

b

o,t+tr,dt+b

v,t+v,dr

cc(uot’)dt’ -

s

u,t+b

%I 1

cc(uot’)dt’

(10)

.

4. EXPERIMENTAL APPARATUS

In order to assess the application of capacitance

tomography for the imaging of two-phase flows in

trickle-bed reactors, an experimental facility was built.

Differentiating both sides of eq. (10) by dt and divid- In Fig. 8, a schematic representation of the experi-

ing by u. yields mental setup is shown. The liquid and the gaseous

phase (water and air) are fed into the column at the

h, 00 top and flow through the packing cocurrently. They

- =% [u(uot +b) -cr(uot)]. (11)

dt are separated at the bottom in a gas/liquid separator

and the liquid phase is recirculated. The peripheral

measurement techniques for the liquid and the gas

feed include temperature, flow rate and pressure as

(4

well as the pressure drop across the column. The

sensor temperature of both phases can be set as well as the

t / condition and concentration of other media.

In Fig. 9 a trickle-bed reactor is shown schemati-

cally. The feed of both phases into the column is

designed so that both gas and liquid enter the head

of the column through a large number of cocurrent

injection nozzles. Therefore, maldistributions at the

axial coordinate x

head of the column are avoided. The inner diameter of

the column is 120 mm with a total length of 2000 mm

of packing. The packings used are standard spheres of

@I , 10, 5 and 3 mm hydraulic diameter made of Celcore,

a ceramic material. The ceramic itself is porous, so

that the liquid phase wets the packing thoroughly.

In order to avoid errors from a high conducting

liquid-phase, deionized water was used. The conduc-

tivity of the water was thus kept below 1 mS/m. The

measurement plane was located at the bottom of the

column, well upstream of the support tray in order to

axial coordinate x avoid interference. The calibration of the capacitance

tomography was done with a fully wetted and a

Fig. 7. Schematic representation of the measurement. drained column. The full calibration was conducted

2118 N. Reinecke and D. Mewes

with the packing being wetted for 30min in order to 5.1. Tomographic images

assure fully soaked ceramic particles. In Fig. 11, examplary results from the tomographic

imaging of the pulse flow in trickle-bed reactors

are shown. Plotted are individually imaged cross-

5. EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS sections of the pipe during the flow. The correspond-

In general, four different flow regimes encountered ing time goes from left to right and from top to

in trickle-bed reactors are characterized. These are bottom. The time scale between the images is 15ms.

plotted schematically in Fig. 10. For small flow rates The blue color represents the liquid phase while the

of both phases, the trickle flow regime is encountered whiter colors represent an increase of the gas phase.

[Fig. 10(a)] where the catalysts are completely wetted A void fraction of 1 is marked black (transparent).

and the gaseous as well as the liquid phase is conti- From these images it can be seen that the pulse flow

nuous. An operation below this point will yield a itself is established in a strongly three-dimensional

break-up of the liquid film into rivulets. The resulting manner. In the radial direction, even during the pas-

incomplete wetting of the packing makes the opera- sage of a pulse, the distribution of the void fraction

tion of most reactors in this flow regime not sensible. changes. Especially for the liquid-rich zones (pulse)

When the flow rates of both phases are increased, the the void fraction is never 0, so that a bubble flow

pulse flow regime is encountered [Fig. 10(b)]. Here, within these zones can be assumed. This is in accord-

the liquid is bridging the gaps between the catalysts ance with other authors, who have studied pulse flow

and accumulates to form a plug which is then accele- in two-dimensional flat-bed reactors (Melli et al.,

rated through the column by the expansion of the 1990, 1991).

initially blocked gaseous phase. When the flow rate of In order to understand better the axial/time devel-

the gaseous or the liquid phase is increased further, opment of the flow field, a different representation

the spray flow regime [Fig. 10(c)] and the bubble flow of the images has to be chosen. In Fig. 12 the data

regime [Fig. 10(d)] are encountered, respectively. from Fig. 11 and additional other data points are

In order to fully assess the possibilities for the applica- plotted differently. From the individual images in

tion of capacitance tomography for the tomographic Fig. 11, the central radial lines were taken and

imaging of trickle-bed reactors, highly transient flow plotted one after the other. Therefore, if these lines

regimes are desirable. In these flow regimes, the neces- are plotted from bottom to top, the direction of flow

sary time constants for the measurement are small and would be from top to bottom as is the case here.

up to date no information on the gas and liquid distribu- This type of representation has already been chosen

tion are available. Therefore, most of the tomogramms for other tomographic investigations and is usually

were measured for the pulse flow regime or for flow refered to as Eulerian slices (Hallow et al.,

regimes close to the transition into pulse flow. 1993). Given a constant and homogeneous velocity

Two-phase flow in trickle-bed reactors 2119

+

\

\

\

\

\

\

\

\

\

\

\

\

\

\

\

\

\

\

\

\

\

\

P

liquid

distribution the images are identical to three-dimen- trailing edge of this zone is identical. For an increase

sional representations of the flow field. The color of the gas flow rate, the front of the gaseous zone loses

representation is identical to Fig. 11. The volumetric its plane shape, while the trailing end remains almost

liquid flow rate and the gas flow rate is increased the same. The general shape of the gas-rich zone can

from Figs 12(a)-(d). best be described by the shape of Taylor bubbles in

As was already evident from the individual frame the vertical two-phase flow in simple pipes.

plots in Fig. 11, the pulses passing through the As the gas flow rate is increased, the pulse frequency

column are aerated with bubbles and not of constant and thus the thickness of the liquid zones is decreased.

thickness. The three-dimensional shape and extension With the decrease in the thickness of the liquid

of the pulse is clearly evident and different for all zone, a decrease in the strong three-dimensional

the pulses. This observation cannot be made from the effect is observed. This can be attributed to an

outside of the column. From visual observations increase in the momentum forces inside the column,

from the outside, the pulses appear to be one-dimen- which make a radial dispersion more difficult.

sional. This can be verified by plotting just the An increase in the frequency can also be observed

void fraction values from the wall region, where a when the liquid flow rate is increased. The shape

constant pattern will appear. Focussing on the shape of the gaseous zones becomes more pronounced

of the gas-rich zones inside the column, it can be while the radial distribution also becomes more

noticed that for low gas flow rates the leading and homogeneous.

2120 N. Reinecke and D. Mewes

5.2. Integral void fraction increase in the liquid velocity, the liquid holdup in

Using the tomographic images obtained it is also the column also increases. When the flow regime is

possible to calculate an integral void or liquid fraction reached, the liquid holdup in the gas-rich zones is

as a function of time. This is done not from the actual almost constant. Therefore, additional liquid fed

capacitance values measured, but rather from the into the column must be inside the liquid-rich

reconstructed images. This way, the non-linear relation- zones either by increase in size or frequency of the

ship between the liquid fraction and the capacitance pulses. The same can be observed in Figs 13(c) and

values of the individual measurements does not yield (d) where the same plots are given for the smaller

any error for the calculation. particle size. Even though the overall value of the

In Fig. 13, four plots of the liquid holdup as liquid holdup is increased due to a decrease in the

a function of time are shown. In Figs 13(a) and (b) particle size, the general behavior of the system is

the particle size is dp = 10mm while in Figs 13(c) identical above.

and (d) the particle size is dp =3 mm. In Fig. 13(a), In Fig. 14, the average liquid holdup is plotted as

the liquid superficial velocity is kept constant at a function of the superficial gas velocity [Fig. 14(a)]

jF =8.25 x 10m3 m/s and the superficial gas velo- and the superficial liquid velocity [Fig. 14(b)].

city is varied. For an increase in the gas velocity In these plots, the effect discussed above is clearly

the liquid holdup decreases. When the pulse flow visible, with the liquid holdup decreasing for an

regime is reached, the liquid holdup in the liquid- increase in the superficial gas velocity and the liquid

rich zones increases strongly while the liquid hold- holdup increasing for an increase in the superficial

up in the gas-rich zones decreases further. This liquid velocity. When the liquid holdup as a function

effect is due to the depletion of liquid from the gas- of time is integrated, the increase and decrease, respec-

rich zone through pulses traveling over the liquid tively, of the holdup seems to be independent of the

film and accumulating liquid. In Fig. 13(b) the gas flow regime. Even though the pulse flow regime is

superficial velocity is kept constant at jc =O.l2m/s established, the monotony of the curve remains

and the superficial liquid velocity is varied. For an the same.

Two-phase flow in trickle-bed reactors 2121

liquid holdup

Fig. 11. Tomogramms of the two-phase flow in trickle-bed reactors, time plots

2122 N. Reinecke and D. Mewes

A-A B-B

nn

a b C d e

v)

o+sensor

0.3 0,3 m/s

10 5 10e3m / s

Fig. 12. Tomogramms of the two-phase flow in trickle-bed reactors, axial plots.

Two-phase flow in trickle-bed reactors 2123

1.0

particle diameter d, = 1Omm - j, = 0.06 m/s

z ---- j,=0,16m/s

+ 0.6 -..-..

------ ,G

J,=0,20m/s

= 0.21 m/s -

(4 time t

1.0

0.8 ~ particle diameter d, = 1Omm ___ ],=4.410-‘“l/S -

zi ---- JF=12,510-‘m/S

-..... Jr=16.510~3~/S

’ 0,6

~.- -. JF = 24.5 lo-’ m/s

(b) time I

partule diameter d, = 3mm

z-

4 0.6

z

; 0,4

‘3

superfirml veloches

JF = 8.3 10-3 m/s

f&2

- JG=0.02m/S ---- JG=0.09”,/S

.-..-- J0=0,12m/S -.-.-. JG=0.15”,/S

o,o

I I

o,o 0,s I,0 1,s 2,0 s 2.5

Cc) time I

Fig. 13. Liquid holdup as a function of the gas and liquid superficial velocity and as a function of time.

2124 N. Reinecke and D. Mewes

“OC

Columndmmeterd = 1ZOmm

0,8 particle

diameter d, - 3mm

z7

4 0,6

z

0

G 0.4

S I I I

3 I I I

superflrlalvelocltles

0.2 ~~=0,13m/s

I I I

0,o

w 0.5 18 1.5 2.0 s 2,5

(d) time t

1.0

parhcle dtameter

dp=3mm d,=lOmm

v I

= 0.6

@I

oo!

’0 5 10

superficial

15

liquid velocity j,

20 25 mm/s 30

Fig. 14. Liquid holdup as a function of the gas and liquid superficial velocity.

Two-phase flow in trickle-bed reactors 2125

(4 time t

I,0

1/s:

k OS

2

.-

: @O

El

.g -0,s

f

Xi

t

8 -1.0

0

2

-1.5

-2,0

0,t

(b) time 7

Using the data shown in Fig. 13 and the equation of 16 peripherally mounted electrodes, which are

derived in eq. (12), it is possible to calculate the velocity sampled sequentially. The measurement of the

of the pulses traveling through the column. In Fig 15(a) capacitance is done using an AC-bridge and the

the liquid holdup as a function of time is plotted. The reconstruction is done using an iterative ART-algo-

pulses can clearly be distinguished as well as the gas- rithm with a full electrical field calculation. It is shown

rich zones. In Fig. 15(b) the autocorrelation function how the data-processing can be improved for this

proposed in eq. (12) is plotted as a function of the time application and how an additional velocity measure-

step t. A clear maximum can be observed for about ment can be made.

0.1 s. These data were taken with a sensor with The results of the measured tomogramms show the

a slightly longer axial extension of 75 mm. The corre- possibilities of the technique presented. The three-

sponding velocity of the pulses is therefore about dimensional shape of the gas- and the liquid-rich

jPulse = 0.75 m/s. This is also in accordance with the zones inside the column for the pulse flow are visualiz-

data that can be obtained from the literature. ed. It can be seen that this quality of data cannot be

determined from the outside of the column. When the

resulting integral values for the liquid holdup are

6. CONCLUSIONS plotted, it is evident that in the pulse flow regime, the

In this article the possibilities of tomographic liquid is depleted from the gas-rich zones to accumu-

imaging of the two-phase flow in trickle-bed reactors late inside the liquid-rich zones. The overall liquid

using capacitance tomography are discussed. A newly holdup remains unaffected by the flow regime. Using

2126 N. Reinecke and D. Mewes

late the velocity of the pulses. mia Control, ed. M. Gautherie, pp. 35-111. Springer,

Berlin.

Fordham, E. J., Hall, L. D., Ramakrishnan, T. S.,

Acknowledgements Sharpe, M. R. and Hall, C. (1993) Saturation gradi-

The author wish to thank the ‘Deutsche Forschungs- ents in drainage of porous media: NMR imaging

gemeinschaft’ for the funding of the project. measurements. A.I.Ch.E. J. 39, 1431-1443.

Gladden, L. F. (1994) NMR in chemical engineering.

NOTATION

Chem. Engng Sci. 49, 3339-3408.

Gladden, L. F. (1995) Industrial aplications of NMR

A area, m2

imaging. Chem. Engng J. 56, 149-158.

c capacitance, (As/l/ = F) Halow, J. S., Fasching, G. E., Nicoletti, P. and Spenik,

D electrical displacement, As/m2 L. (1993) Observations of a fluidized bed using

E electrical field density, V/m capacitance imaging. Chem. Engng Sci. 48,643-659.

Q charge, As =C Ikeda, T., Kotani, K., Maeda, Y. and Kohno, H.

s sensitivity, dimensionless (1983) Preliminary study on application of X-ray

b axial sensor length, m CT scanner to measurement of void fraction in

d diameter, m steady state two-phase flows. J. Nucl. Sci. Technol.

20, l-12.

h correction function, dimensionless

Isaksen, 0. and Nordtvedt, J. E. (1992) Capacitance

i electrode combination, dimensionless

tomography: reconstruction based on optimization

j superficial velocity, m/s theory. In Proceedings of ECAPT’92, Manchester,

k iteration step, dimensionless U.K., Process Tomography-A Strategy for Indus-

n number of electrodes, exponent, dimen- trial Exploitation-1992, eds M. S. Beck et al.,

sionless pp. 178-189.

t time, s Kantzas, A. (1994) Computation of holdups in

V velocity, m/s fluidized and trickle-beds by computer-assisted to-

X coordinate, m mography. A.I.Ch.E. J. 7, 1254-1261.

coordinate, m Klug, F. and Mayinger, F. (1993) Novel impedance

Y

measuring technique for flow composition in multi-

phase flows. In Proceedings of ECAPTP3, Karls-

Greek letters

ruhe, Germany, Process Tomography-A Strategy

@ autocorrelation function, dimensionless

,for Industrial Exploitation-1993, eds M. S. Beck

M fraction, dimensionless et al., pp. 152-155.

& permittivity, As/Vm Maxwell, J. C. (1892) A Treatise on Electricity and

E void fraction, dimensionless Magnetism. Clarendon Press, Oxford.

cp potential, V McKee, S. L., Williams, R. A. and Boxman, A. (1994)

T time step, s Development of solid-liquid mixing models using

tomographic techniques. In Proceedings oj

Subscripts and superscripts ECAPT’94, Oporto, Portugal, Process Tomogra-

phy --A Strategy for Industrial Exploitation-1994,

0, 1,2 numbering

* eds M. S. Beck et al., pp. 342-353.

dimensionless

Melli, T. R., De Santos, J. M., Kolb, W. B. and

A differential

Striven, L. E. (1990) Cocurrent downflow in net-

F liquid works of passages. Microscale poots of macroscale

G gas flow regimes. Ind. Engng Chem. Res. 29,2367-2379.

M measured Melli, T. R. and Striven, L. E. (1991) Theory of two-

P particle phase cocurrent downflow in networks of passages.

R calculated Ind. Engng Chem. Res. 30, 951-969.

Mewes, D. and Fellhiilter, A. (1993) Observation of

mixing phenomena in wind tunnels by optical to-

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