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chemical engineering research and design 8 7 ( 2 0 0 9 ) 2535

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Chemical Engineering Research and Design

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/cherd

CFD modeling of sieve and pulsed-sieve


plate extraction columns

Randheer L. Yadav, Ashwin W. Patwardhan


Department of Chemical Engineering, Institute of Chemical Technology, University of Mumbai, Mumbai 400019, India

a b s t r a c t

Present work deals with the development of a computational uid dynamics (CFD) model for understanding the
hydrodynamics in sieve and pulsed-sieve plate extraction columns. The model is based on EulerianEulerian
approach along with standard k model for turbulence. The CFD model has been validated by comparing (i) the
height of the accumulated layer of the dispersed phase under the plate, and (ii) hold-up of the dispersed phase on
the sieve plates with the corresponding values calculated by the correlations reported by Laddha and Degaleesan
[Laddha, G.S., Degaleesan, T.E., 1976. Transport Phenomena in Liquid Extraction. Tata McGraw Hills Publishing Co.
Ltd., pp. 305330]. Model predictions were found to be within 10%. The validated model has been extended to study
the regime transition in pulsed-sieve plate columns. Overall, the developed CFD model is found to be able to predict
the hydrodynamic aspects of plate extraction columns: like variation in hold-up above and below the plate, move-
ment of continuous phase across the plate and through the downcomer, different operating regimes at different
pulsing velocities, etc.
2008 The Institution of Chemical Engineers. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Keywords: Sieve plate column; Pulsed-sieve plate column; Liquidliquid contactors; Hydrodynamics; Multiphase ow;
CFD

1. Introduction Sieve plate extraction columns use difference in the den-


sity of the two phases to carry out the contact between them.
Sieve plate columns are frequently used in liquidliquid Thus they do not require external energy. Van Dijck (1935)
extraction operations. They consist of a cylindrical column t- advocated the use of external energy in the form of pulsing
ted with a number of multi-orice plates and a downcomer in sieve plate columns. This variant of the sieve plate column
for each plate. The continuous and dispersed phases ow is known as the pulsed-sieve plate column. Pulsing displaces
countercurrent to each other (Fig. 1A) in the column. If the dis- the layers of heavy and light liquids. On the upstroke the light
persed phase is lighter than the continuous phase it coalesces liquid is forced through the orices in the form of jet streams
and accumulates below the plate. When there is sufcient into the heavy liquid present on the plate. On the downward
hydrostatic head, the dispersed phase passes through the stroke the reverse process takes place, with the heavy liquid
plate orices in the form of drops and moves through the jetting downward through the light liquid (Fig. 2). Pulsing
crossow of the continuous phase between the plates. This increases the turbulence in the column. It also improves the
process of repeated coalescence and dispersion occurs for rate of mass transfer by reducing the drop size. Smaller drops
each plate. The continuous phase passes to the plate below results in large interfacial area. This increase in the interfa-
through a downcomer. The downcomers are arranged to facil- cial area and the turbulence helps in achieving the desired
itate crossow of the continuous phase on the plates. Due to degree of extraction with a column of smaller dimensions
accumulation of dispersed phase below the plates and sub- as compared to sieve plate column (Wiegandt and Von Berg,
sequent formation of drops, there is a large variation in the 1954; Sege and Woodeld, 1954). Pulsed-sieve plate columns
hold-up (from few % above the plate to 100% below the next have found wide applicability in nuclear fuel reprocessing.
plate) of the dispersed phase in each plate section. These columns have a clear advantage over other mechanical


Corresponding author. Tel.: +91 22 24145616; fax: +91 22 24145614.
E-mail address: awp@udct.org (A.W. Patwardhan).
Received 8 March 2008; Received in revised form 26 June 2008; Accepted 30 June 2008
0263-8762/$ see front matter 2008 The Institution of Chemical Engineers. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
doi:10.1016/j.cherd.2008.06.010
26 chemical engineering research and design 8 7 ( 2 0 0 9 ) 2535

Hydrodynamic characteristics of sieve and pulsed-sieve


Nomenclature plate columns are a function of their geometry and operat-
ing parameters. Thus, the effects of a large number of factors
A pulse amplitude (m) must be taken into consideration for designing these columns.
Af pulse velocity (m/s) A detailed experimental study of all the hydrodynamic aspects
(Af)t transition pulse velocity (m/s) of plate columns can be highly expensive. Besides, it is tedious
dh orice diameter (m) and time consuming as well. Till now, both types of columns
dvs drop size (m) have been designed by using a combination of pilot plant tests,
f pulse frequency (Hz) designers prior experience and empirical correlations. The
g acceleration due to gravity (9.81 m/s2 ) knowledge of the hydrodynamics of these columns can aptly
hP plate spacing (m) be used to reduce the uncertainty in their design. Hence an
K1 , K2 constants (Eq. (7)) approach which can enable us in nding the effects of the
Mk momentum source/sink for the kth phase geometrical and operating parameters on hydrodynamics of
(N/m2 ) these columns is desirable.
pk pressure of the kth phase (N/m2 ) Computational uid dynamics (CFD) has emerged as a
QC ow rate of the continuous phase (m3 /s) potential tool for such studies. It involves the solution of
QD ow rate of the dispersed phase (m3 /s) the conservation equations of mass, momentum and volume
uk velocity of the kth phase (m/s) fractions for different phases at a number of grid points in
Uc supercial velocity of the continuous phase the column. The complex hydrodynamics in these columns
(m/s) need sufcient resolution (number and density of grids) for
Ud supercial velocity of the dispersed phase (m/s) capturing the different aspects of the ows. This leads to
Udin inlet velocity of the dispersed phase (m/s) requirements of large computational power in terms of capac-
Udo inlet velocity of the dispersed phase without ity and storage. Due to large increase in the computational
pulsing (m/s) power availability in recent times CFD studies for these
Uh orice velocity (m/s) columns can now be attempted. At present, there is no CFD
Uo characteristic velocity (m/s) study reported in the published literature that deals with the
Uslip slip velocity between the phases (m/s) hydrodynamic aspects of sieve or pulsed-sieve plate columns.
Hence the present work was undertaken with the following
Greek letters objectives:
fractional free area of the plate
k phase fraction of the kth phase
d viscosity of the dispersed phase (Pa s) 1. To develop a CFD model for predicting the hydrodynamics
c density of the continuous phase (kg/m3 ) in the sieve and pulsed-sieve plate columns.
k density of the kth phase (kg/m3 ) 2. To simulate the effect of change in the dispersed phase
P density of the dispersed phase (kg/m3 ) owrate on the hydrodynamics of the sieve plate column.
 density difference between the phases (kg/m3 ) 3. To simulate the hydrodynamic phenomena occurring in the
 interfacial tension (N/m) pulsed-sieve plate column for different pulse velocities.
k stress in the kth phase
 Tk turbulent stress in the kth phase 2. Column geometry and CFD modeling
 phase fraction of the dispersed phase strategy

In many nuclear fuel reprocessing applications, the column


contactors when processing corrosive or radioactive solutions sizes are small (this has nothing to do with the scale of
since the pulsing unit can be remote from the column. The operation, but is necessitated simply due to criticality consid-
absence of moving mechanical parts in such columns obviates erations). Typical column sizes range from 2 to 8 in. (Stevenson
the need for frequent repair and servicing. and Smith, 1961). Further, a number of experimental stud-
Depending on the pulse velocity (amplitude frequency) ies on pulsed-sieve plate columns (Yadav and Patwardhan,
there are different ow regimes (Fig. 2), viz. mixersettler, 2008) have been conducted using small columns (2580 mm
dispersion, emulsion and ooding in the pulsed-sieve plate in size). A larger column would also need larger number of
column (Yadav and Patwardhan, 2008). Since the ow con- grids and the computational demand would increase tremen-
ditions in the column differ according to the regime of dously. Since, this is one of the rst attempts at simulating
operation, it is important to know where a particular regime pulsed columns through CFD, a small column size 50 mm was
begins. The transition from one type of regime to another chosen for conducting the simulations. Since the modeling
is a function of pulsing conditions and throughput for a approach is based on fundamental principles, the know-how
given liquidliquid system and column geometry. Yadav and obtained with the column of smaller dimension can easily
Patwardhan (2008) have presented a detailed review and be extended for design and optimization of industrial large
analysis of all the design parameters of pulsed-sieve plate scale sieve and pulsed-sieve plate columns. Further, the same
columns. This study has clearly shown that there exists a hydrodynamic phenomena occur in each plate section, hence
large body of experimental data on the various hydrodynamic only a few plates were considered for simulation to reduce
aspects of pulsed-sieve plate columns. Many of the previ- the computational requirements. All the relevant dimensions
ous papers propose empirical/semi-empirical equations to of the sieve plate column have been summarized in Table 1.
correlate their data. There is clearly a need for a fundamen- EulerianEulerian model (FLUENT Documentation, 2008)
tal approach for modeling sieve plate and pulsed-sieve plate has been used for CFD simulations. The model solves the con-
columns. servation equations for momentum and mass for each phase.
chemical engineering research and design 8 7 ( 2 0 0 9 ) 2535 27

Fig. 1 (A) Geometry of the sieve plate column without radial ow through downcomer and (B) geometry of the sieve plate
column with radial ow through downcomer.

The equation of continuity and the momentum conservation size. The next section describes how the droplet size is cal-
equations for the kth phase are given by Eqs. (1) and (2), culated. Turbulence was modeled by solving the standard
respectively (Ranade, 2002). k model for both the phases. Transport equations for the
model and their physical interpretation are summarized in
Ranade (2002).
(  ) + (k k uk ) =
k (1)
t k k The column geometry (the dimensions given in Table 1)
was created and meshed using the tool GAMBIT. As can be
(  u ) + (k k uk uk )
t k k k observed from Table 1 the orice and column diameters are
= k pk + [k (k + Tk )] + k k g + Mk (2) 2 and 50 mm, respectively. The maximum velocity gradients
are present near the orices. It is imperative for numerical
This model assumes that both phases can be present at each accuracy to have a number of grid points in the orice region
grid in the ow domain. The hold-up of each phase at each for accurate calculation of the velocity gradients. A mesh of
cell within the ow domain is computed. The momentum 0.5 mm size gives around 20 cells in the orice region. The
exchange between the two phases within the contactor is velocity gradients in the region far from the orice plate are
modeled through the pressure and interphase exchange coef- small; therefore, the mesh size was progressively increased
cients (Mk ). Mk includes the effects of drag, lift and virtual from 0.5 to 3 mm. This resulted into approximately 450,000
mass forces. Expressions for all these forces have been sum- unstructured tetrahedral grid elements for the entire column
marized in Ranade (2002). In the present study only drag force geometry.
is taken into account. This is because the lift and virtual Water and toluene have been taken as the continuous
mass forces are small as compared to drag in liquidliquid phase and dispersed phase, respectively. Water was assumed
dispersions occurring in these types of contactors. The drag to enter the column from the top while toluene entry was from
coefcient was computed using the Schiller and Naumann the column bottom. Fig. 1A shows the above arrangement. The
correlation as given in FLUENT documentation. In order to phase ow rate divided by the column crosssection area of
calculate the drag force, it is necessary to know the droplet the inlet gave the phase velocity at respective inlets. These
values were given as the boundary condition at the phase
inlets. For example, for 50 mm diameter column, the column
crosssection is 1.96 103 m2 . When the ow rate is 25 L/h, the
Table 1 Dimensions of the column used for simulations supercial velocity in the column would be 3.54 mm/s. Water
Parameter Dimensions was assumed to exit at atmospheric pressure. Hence, pressure
outlet with 0 Pa (Zero Pascal gauge) was given as the boundary
Column diameter (m) 0.050
Number of plates 3 conditions at the bottom of the column. The boundary con-
Plate spacing (m) 0.1 dition for the outlet of the dispersed phase at the top of the
Column height (m) 0.5 column was taken as the supercial velocity of the dispersed
Orice diameter (m) 0.002 phase. This face was considered as velocity inlet and a neg-
Number of orices 15 ative value of the velocity was supplied to simulate the effect
Downcomer diameter (m) 0.015
of phase leaving the column. This ensured that there were no
Downcomer height (m) 0.070
ow reversals from the outlet back into the column. This made
Diameter of inlet for both phases (m) 0.020
solution converge more quickly. The no-slip boundary condi-
28 chemical engineering research and design 8 7 ( 2 0 0 9 ) 2535

Fig. 2 Different regimes in pulsed-sieve plate columns as a function of pulse velocity.

tion was enforced at the walls of the column, walls of the inlet Solution was initialized with the column lled with the
section of both the phases and the area of the plate without continuous phase. All the equations of continuity, momen-
orices. The orices in the plates were specied as interior tum, phase volume fraction and turbulence were solved
boundary meaning that the ow could enter or leave through simultaneously. The commercial CFD code Fluent 6.2 has been
these orices. used for all the simulations. The solution was iterated until
Second order upwind discretization scheme was used for convergence was achieved, such that the residue for each
the momentum, volume fraction, turbulent kinetic energy and equation fell below 103 . In general, it was observed that the
turbulent energy dissipation rate and SIMPLE scheme was residue for the momentum equations was below 105 , that for
used for the pressurevelocity coupling. A relaxation factor of the turbulent kinetic energy was well below 104 and that for
0.2 was used for the pressure, momentum and volume frac- the turbulent energy dissipation rate was well below 103 . The
tion, while a factor of 0.1 was used for the turbulent kinetic continuity equation residue was below 103 , while the residue
energy and turbulent energy dissipation rate. for the volume fraction was well below 105 .
chemical engineering research and design 8 7 ( 2 0 0 9 ) 2535 29

3. CFD simulations of sieve plate columns Mean drop size calculated from the above equation was found
to be 4.6 mm. This was used for CFD simulations.
As mentioned above, the Eulerian model calculates the drag
force (interaction between the phases) based on the size 3.1. CFD simulations of sieve plate column with
of the dispersed phase drop. This needs to be given as an vertical ow at downcomer exit
input to the simulations. In many papers reported in the
previous literature on gasliquid two phase ow the size of Initial simulations were done with the downcomer ow verti-
the dispersed phase is considered as a tted parameter cally downward (Fig. 1A). Fig. 3AF shows the volume fraction
in the CFD Model. However, this has not been done in the of the dispersed phase and velocity contours of the phases for
present work. A large body of experimental work exists on a continuous phase ow rate of 25 L/h and dispersed phase
the size of the dispersed phase droplet and its variation with ow rates of 25 and 35 L/h. The volume fraction contours of
the operating conditions and the physico-chemical properties the dispersed phase shows the presence of a coalesced layer
of the phases. A correlation that represents this large body below each plate. The velocity magnitude contours of the dis-
of literature and empirically relates the droplet size to the persed phase shows that the velocity through the orices is
relevant parameters is given below (Eq. (3)). In the present very large as compared to the supercial velocity. The veloc-
work, the droplet size that has been used to calculate the ity magnitude contours of the continuous phase shows that it
interaction (momentum exchange) between the two phases ows through the downcomer. The orice velocity of the dis-
has been calculated from Eq. (3). Thus, the droplet size is no persed phase is large enough to prevent the continuous phase
longer a tted parameter. This makes the CFD simulations from weeping through orices. Comparing Fig. 3A and B it
completely predictive in nature, with no tted parameters. can be seen that the size of the accumulated layer increases
The drop size was calculated by using the physical properties with an increase in the dispersed phase ow rate. The veloc-
of phases with the help of the following equation (Vedaiyan, ity through the orices also increases (Fig. 3C and D) with an
1969): increase in the dispersed phase ow rate. It was observed that
the ow through the downcomer exit was getting obstructed
  0.5  U2 0.0665 by upward ow of the dispersed ow through orices at higher
h dispersed phase ow rates. It can be seen that the toluene
dvs = 0.9 (3)
g 2gdh
velocities at the downcomer exit are in the range 0.050.1 m/s

Fig. 3 Volume fraction and velocity contours in the conventional sieve plate column without radial ow at the downcomer
outlet for different values of QD at QC = 25 L/h.
30 chemical engineering research and design 8 7 ( 2 0 0 9 ) 2535

Fig. 4 (A) Volume fraction and velocity contours of the phases for QC = QD = 25 L/h with radial outow through downcomer
exit and (B) close-up of the velocity contours of dispersed phase for two situations.

(Fig. 3C and D) and they increase with an increase in the ow predictions with correlations (Eq. (5)) amounts to comparing
rate of the dispersed phase. the CFD predictions with experimental data.
Hold-up of the dispersed phase in the column was calcu-
3.2. CFD simulations of sieve plate column with radial lated by using the following relationship:
ow at downcomer exit
Ud Uc
+ = Uo (1 ) (4)
 1
To reduce these velocities, the geometry of the downcomer
in the column was modied. This arrangement is shown in where the characteristic velocity Uo is calculated by:
Fig. 1B. The volume fraction and velocity contours of the
phases for this arrangement and 25 L/h of both the phases
 0.0818  0.25
Uh2  g
are shown in Fig. 4A. It can be observed that with the radial Uo = 1.088 (5)
2gdh c2
ow at the outlet of the downcomer the presence of the dis-
persed phase in the downcomer is substantially reduced. The A number of simulations were carried out to compute the
dispersed phase coming out from the orices comes in contact thickness of the accumulated layer and hold-up of the dis-
with the wall of the downcomer and gets deected. Therefore persed phase. The owrate of the continuous phase (QC ) was
it does not obstruct the ow of the continuous phase. Fig. 4B kept constant at 25 L/h. Four different values of the owrate
shows the enlarged view of the velocity contour of the dis- of the dispersed phase (QD = 15, 25, 30, 35 L/h) were consid-
persed phase around the downcomer. It can be observed that ered. The contour plots of the volume fraction of the dispersed
without the radial ow arrangement the velocity of the dis- phase and velocity contours for the dispersed phase for dif-
persed phase in the region of the downcomer exit is greater ferent ow rates of dispersed phase are shown in Fig. 5A and
than 0.1 m/s. However with the radial ow arrangement the B. It can be observed from Fig. 5A that the thickness of the
velocity of the dispersed phase at the downcomer exit reduces accumulated layer below the plate increases with increase in
substantially. Therefore this modication enables the contin- the owrate of the dispersed phase. Fig. 5B shows the veloc-
uous phase to ow without being obstructed by the upward ity contour for the dispersed phase. It can be observed that
ow of the dispersed phase. These observations show the with increase in owrate of the dispersed phase the super-
efcacy of CFD in nding out the effects of modication of cial as well as orice velocities increase. An increase in these
column internals. In all further simulations the sieve plate velocities increases the head required to overcome the pres-
column with the radial ow at the downcomer exit has been sure drop through the orices. This results in an increase in
used. the thickness of the accumulated layer of the dispersed phase
below the plate. Thickness of the accumulated layer from sim-
3.3. Model validation and effect of change in dispersed ulation was calculated by plotting the variation of the volume
phase owrate (QD ) fraction of the dispersed phase along the column axis. The
accumulated layer was considered to be present up to a loca-
The developed CFD model was validated by comparing the tion where the volume fraction of the dispersed phase was
thickness of the accumulated layer below the plate and hold- higher than 85%. Hold-up of the dispersed phase was calcu-
up of the dispersed phase in the column with the correlations lated by calculating the average of volume fraction values at
given in Laddha and Degaleesan (1976). It should be noted six different planes above the top plate.
that there exists a large body of experimental data on hold-up The values of both these parameters obtained from CFD
in sieve plate columns. The experimental data can be rep- have been compared with their corresponding values from
resented by empirical equation like (5). Comparison of CFD relations described above. The comparison for thickness of
chemical engineering research and design 8 7 ( 2 0 0 9 ) 2535 31

Fig. 6 Effect of variation in owrate of the dispersed phase


on thickness of the coalesced layer below the plate.

Fig. 7 Effect of variation in owrate of the dispersed phase


on hold-up of the dispersed phase in the column.

following equation.

Fig. 5 (A) Contours of volume fraction of toluene in the Udin = Udo + Af sin(2 ft) (6)
conventional sieve plate column with radial ow at the
downcomer outlet for different values of QD at QC = 25 L/h. The above velocity prole was supplied as a user-dened func-
(B) Contours of velocity magnitude of toluene in the tion (UDF). All the simulations have been carried out at a
conventional sieve plate column with radial ow at the constant frequency of 1 Hz. The pulse velocity was varied by
downcomer outlet for different values of QD at QC = 25 L/h. varying the amplitude of pulsation. The amplitude was varied
in range of 1.650 mm. This corresponds to the pulse velocity
of 1.650 mm/s in the column. The owrate of both the phases
accumulated layer and hold-up are reported in Figs. 6 and 7, was kept at 25 L/h. The solution was initialized with the steady
respectively. It can be seen that the predicted values are in state solution (zero pulse velocity) for the above ow rates.
good agreement with those obtained by correlations. This
conrms the validity of the CFD model developed in this 4.1. Effect of pulsing on hydrodynamics of
study. pulsed-sieve extraction columns

4. CFD simulations of pulsed-sieve plate Effect of pulsing on column hydrodynamics depends on the
columns magnitude of the pulse velocity. This effect was studied by
varying the pulse velocities in the range 550 mm/s (5, 8.3, 25
The validated model for sieve plate was subsequently and 50 mm/s). Figs. 810 show the effect of pulse velocity, 5,
extended for predicting the ow phenomena in a pulsed- 8.3 and 25 mm/s, respectively, on the column hydrodynamics.
sieve plate column. Pulse velocity is dened as the product Fig. 8A shows the effect of pulsing on volume fraction at
of the pulse amplitude and pulse frequency. A sinusoidal intervals of 0.1 s between 2 and 3 s. During the downward
pulsing was applied to the dispersed phase at its inlet. portion of the sinusoidal pulse the continuous phase resting
The velocity prole at the inlet of the dispersed phase on the plate is pulled through the plate orices (22.5 s) and
for the pulsed-sieve plate column was given by using the subsequently through the accumulated layer of the dispersed
32 chemical engineering research and design 8 7 ( 2 0 0 9 ) 2535

Fig. 8 (A) Contours of volume fraction of toluene in the pulsed-sieve plate column for Af = 5 mm/s. (B) Contours of velocity
magnitude of toluene in the pulsed-sieve plate column for Af = 5 mm/s. (C) Contours of velocity magnitude of water in the
pulsed-sieve plate column for Af = 5 mm/s.

phase. The applied pulse also distorts the layer of the dis- situation reverts during the upward motion of the sinusoidal
persed phase accumulated below the plate. The accumulated pulse (2.63 s). Now the dispersed phase is pushed through the
dispersed phase layer is also pulled downwards. However, the orices through the continuous phase. The phases segregate
pulse velocity is not strong enough to pull the accumulated once again at the quiescent phase of the sinusoidal cycle.
later till the downcomer outlet. An interface is maintained It can be seen from Fig. 8B that during the downward
between the phases typifying the mixersettler regime. This mode of the pulsing stroke, even the dispersed phase is
chemical engineering research and design 8 7 ( 2 0 0 9 ) 2535 33

Fig. 9 Contours of volume fraction of toluene in the pulsed-sieve plate column for Af = 8.3 mm/s.

pulled through the downcomer; however, the upward buoy- and the dispersed phases are pulled through the downcomer
ant force acting on the dispersed phase makes the dispersed (2.12.5 s) during the downward stroke of the pulse. During
phase velocities low in the downcomer (between 2.1 and 2.5 s). the upward stroke of the pulse, both the phases get pushed
During the upward stroke of pulsing, the dispersed phase through the downcomer as well as the perforations. Compar-
velocities through the orices are high, indicating that it gets ing Figs. 10B and C and 8B and C show that the magnitudes of
pushed through the orices. the velocities have increased substantially. At a pulse veloc-
The effect of pulsing on continuous phase (water) velocities ity of 5 mm/s (Fig. 8B and C), most of the phase movement
can be seen in Fig. 8C. It can be seen that during the down- is occurring through the downcomer. At a pulse velocity of
ward stroke (2.12.5 s), both the phases are pulled through 25 mm/s (Fig. 10B and C) the phase motion is through perfora-
the downcomer. During the upward stroke of the pulsing tions as well as through the downcomer. Fig. 10AC suggests
cycle, even the water phase is pushed up through the ori- that the column is no longer operating in the mixersettler
ces (2.63.0 s). This shows the dramatic effect of the pulsing regime but closer to dispersion regime (Fig. 2). At higher
on sieve plate columns. Fig. 8 shows that at this pulsing pulse velocity, the hold-up values and the velocity magnitudes
velocity, the coalesced layer below each plate does not dis- were found to increase further as compared to those seen in
appear completely. Thus the operation at this low pulsing Fig. 9AC.
velocity is more like the mixersettler regime (Fig. 2B). The The velocity contours of the continuous and dispersed
CFD model thus serves to identify the operating regime in the phases show large velocities in the downcomer. This could
column. be because the downcomer offers the path of the least resis-
Fig. 9 shows the volume fraction of the toluene phase at tance (due to its large area as compared to the area of orices)
a pulse velocity of 8.3 mm/s. It can be seen that during the for the ow of the phases. Therefore in the standard pulsed-
downward phase of the pulse (2.12.5 s), the coalesced layer sieve plate column (Logsdail and Slater, 1994) downcomers are
below the plate is pulled downwards even more as compared not used. Pulsing is the only source of motion of the uids
to Fig. 8A. The coalesced layer reaches almost till the down- and it pushes and pulls them through the orices for different
comer opening. Fig. 9 shows that the column still operates in a phases of the sinusoidal cycle. Thus the developed CFD model
mixersettler regime at a pulse velocity of 8.3 mm/s. However, is able to predict the operating regime in the pulsed-sieve plate
the mixersettler regime is disturbed to a greater extent as the columns.
pulse velocity is higher.
The contours of velocity of the continuous and the dis- 4.2. Effect of pulse velocity on hold-up in pulsed
persed phases are similar to Fig. 8B and C except that the column
velocity magnitudes are higher due to higher pulse velocity.
These gures are not shown for brevity. Fig. 11 shows the effect of pulse velocity on the hold-up in the
Fig. 10AC shows the volume fraction and velocity contours pulsed-sieve plate column. Hold-up in the column is dened
for both the phases for the pulse velocity of 25 mm/s. It can be as the ratio of the volume of dispersed phase in the column
observed from the volume fraction proles (Fig. 10A) that at to the total uid volume in the column. It can be seen that
this pulse velocity the mixersettler regime and the coalesced the CFD model predictions agree well with the experimen-
layer of the dispersed phase below the plate is disturbed com- tal data. It can be observed that large hold-up is obtained in
pletely. In fact the identity of the plates and the downcomer pulsed-sieve plate column as compared to sieve plate column
is almost lost completely and the whole column starts to be (corresponding to Af = 0 mm/s). With increase in the pulse
occupied with the dispersion (having volume fraction of about velocity, the shear forces on the drop increase. Increase in
0.4). shear forces lead to drop breakage due to which smaller drops
Fig. 10B and C shows the contours dispersed phase and are produced in the column. The smaller drops present in
continuous velocities at a pulse velocity of 25 mm/s as a func- the column have low slip velocity. This increases the hold-up
tion of time. Again, it can be seen that both the continuous of the dispersed phase in the column. Therefore the hold-
34 chemical engineering research and design 8 7 ( 2 0 0 9 ) 2535

Fig. 10 (A) Contours of volume fraction of toluene in the pulsed-sieve plate column for Af = 25 mm/s. (B) Contours of
velocity magnitude of toluene in the pulsed-sieve plate column for Af = 25 mm/s. (C) Contours of velocity magnitude of water
in the pulsed-sieve plate column for Af = 25 mm/s.

up was observed to increase with an increase in the pulse K1 = 1.35 102 for no solute transfer, K1 = 1.65 102 for mass
velocity. transfer from continuous phase to dispersed phase and
The continuous line in Fig. 11 is obtained by calculating K1 = 1.55 102 for mass transfer from dispersed phase to con-
the hold-up from the slip velocity correlation (Kumar and tinuous phase.
Hartland, 1994): K2 = 33.3 for no solute transfer, K2 = 29.6 for mass trans-
fer from continuous phase to dispersed phase and K2 = 29.6
for mass transfer from dispersed phase to continuous
Uslip = K1 exp[K2 |Af (Af)t |] 0.22 0.38
d
0.32 h0.31
p dh
0.22
(7) phase.
chemical engineering research and design 8 7 ( 2 0 0 9 ) 2535 35

CFD model is able to correctly predict the transition from the


mixersettler regime to the dispersion regime.

5. Conclusions

A CFD model has been developed to understand the com-


plex hydrodynamic phenomena in sieve and pulsed-sieve
plate extraction columns. The model has been validated
by comparison with the experimental data and correlations
reported in the previous literature. The model has been found
to predict accurately the effects of change in owrate of
the dispersed phase on the hold-up and the height of the
accumulated layer of the dispersed phase below the tray.
The model has shown the effect of changes in the down-
comer geometry on hydrodynamic conditions. The developed
model was extended to predict the performance of pulsed-
sieve plate columns. The model could predict the operating
Fig. 11 Effect of pulse velocity on hold-up of the dispersed
regimes in the pulsed column. It was also able to predict
phase in the columns.
the effect of pulse velocity on the hold-up of the dispersed
phase.

Since no mass transfer was occurring in the system,


K1 = 1.35 102 and K2 = 33.3 were used in the above equation References
for calculating the slip velocity.
Hold-up of the dispersed phase was calculated by using FLUENT Documentation, 2008. ANSYS India Ltd., Bangalore,
India.
Uslip in the equation below.
Kumar, A. and Hartland, S., 1994, Empirical prediction of
operating variables, in Handbook of Solvent Extraction, Lo,
Ud Uc
+ = Uslip (8) T.C., Baird, M.H.I., & Hanson, C. (eds) (John Wiley and Sons,
 1 New York, USA), pp. 625735.
Laddha, G.S. and Degaleesan, T.E., (1976). Transport Phenomena in
4.3. Effect of pulse velocity on regime transition in Liquid Extraction. (McGraw-Hill Publishing Co. Ltd), pp. 305330
pulsed column Logsdail, D.H. and Slater, M.J., 1994, Pulsed perforated-plate
columns, in Handbook of Solvent Extraction, Lo, T.C., Baird,
Kumar and Hartland (1994) have proposed a relationship for M.H.I., & Hanson, C. (eds) (John Wiley and Sons, New York),
pp. 355371.
the transition pulse velocity (Af)t as:
Ranade, V.V., (2002). Computational Flow Modeling for Chemical
 0.33 Reactor Engineering. (Academic Press), pp. 8595
 1/4 Sege, G. and Woodeld, F.W., 1954, Pulse column variables. Chem.
(Af)t = 9.69 103 3/4
(9)
d Eng. Prog., (August): 396402.
Stevenson, R.L. and Smith, P.E., (1961). Reactor Handbook (2nd ed.).
(Interscience Publication, New York), pp. 107117
According to their criteria, mixersettler regime prevails when
Van Dijck, W.J.D., 1935. U.S. Patent 2,011,186.
Af < (Af)t and dispersion regime prevails when Af > (Af)t . Sub-
Vedaiyan, S., 1969. Hydrodynamics of two phase ow in spray
stituting the values of physical properties, the transition pulse columns. Ph.D. Thesis. University of Madras, India.
velocity, (Af)t is found to be about 10 mm/s. Wiegandt, H.F. and Von Berg, R.L., 1954, Key to better extraction.
From the CFD simulations (Figs. 9 and 10A) the transition Chem. Eng., (June): 183188.
velocity was found to be slightly higher than 8.3 mm/s but Yadav, R.L. and Patwardhan, A.W., 2008, Design aspects of
much lower than 25 mm/s. Thus, it can be concluded that the pulsed-sieve plate columns. Chem. Eng. J., 138(13): 389415.