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Micro-mixing measurement by chemical probe in homogeneous and isotropic turbulence

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The chemical probe is commonly used to evaluate the performance of chemical reactors. By a localized injection of chemical reagents, it is possible to measure the local micro-mixing, which is readily related to the selectivity of chemical reactions, since mixing at the molecular scale is the limiting factor for a Wide range of chemical systems. The raw result of the chemical-probe method is a segregation index that allows comparison of different situations (various locations in the reactor, various Reynolds numbers, various geometries, etc.). Beyond the qualitative assessment provided by this segregation index, it is possible to obtain the intrinsic micro-mixing time by means of a micro-mixing model, describing the temporal evolution of a chemical reaction whose rate is governed by the micro-mixing. Here a key step is the choice of micro-mixing model. Several micro-mixing models available in the literature have been used in some specific cases without evaluating their appropriateness for the problem in hand. The main difficulty in this evaluation is that the real flows often do not fully satisfy the basic model assumptions, in particular the condition of homogeneous and isotropic turbulence (HIT). The present work aims at assessing the validity of a micro-mixing model under "ideal" experimental conditions, i.e. HIT with no mean flow, to avoid the bias due to the flow gradients. The HIT is obtained here by a system of oscillating grids placed in a vessel. The chemical probe measurements carried out by the iodide/iodate reaction system are applied to the two most commonly used phenomenological models in the literature: the IEM (Interaction by Exchange with the Mean) and the EDD (Engulfment, Deformation and Diffusion) models. The benchmark for the micro-mixing models is based on comparison of the local turbulent kinetic energy (TKE) dissipation rate both drawn from the micro-mixing time by the theoretical model of Baldyga and the reference direct experimental determination by laser Doppler velocimetry measurements. It is shown that the engulfment model EDD seems the more appropriate to analyze the chemical data and provide a quantitative characterization of micro-mixing. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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