Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Engineering Science


Chemical and Biochemical Engineering


Dr. Cedric Briens

2nd Supervisor

Dr. Franco Berruti

Joint Supervisor


The aim of the thesis was to study the effect of liquid-solid contact on the thermal cracking of heavy hydrocarbons carried out in Fluid Cokers. The research has been carried out using a Mechanically Fluidized Reactor (MFR) in which the operating conditions of the Fluid CokingTM reactions can be simulated and monitored. The first part of the research, aimed at investigating the effect of agitation on liquid-solid contact, which was carried out by changing the rotation speed of the agitator of the MFR for both non-reactive as well as for reactive systems. In both situations, it was observed that the liquid-solid contact improved as the agitator speed increased. Increasing the agitator speed greatly reduced the undesired coke product and increased the yield of valuable liquids.

The effect of liquid properties on liquid-solid contact, and how the liquid-solid contact affects heat and mass transfer in non-reacting and reacting systems was also studied. It was observed that liquid-solid contact improved when the liquid properties, such as wettability, surface tension and latent heat of vaporization were reduced, whereas phase separation of liquid feed degraded the liquid-solid contact for non-reactive as well as for reactive systems.

Finally, the effect of the solid bed material on the liquid-solid contact for non-reactive as well reactive systems was studied. It was observed that the contact angle between the bed particle and the feed droplet plays an important role in the selection of the bed material for reactor operation.