Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Chemical and Biochemical Engineering


Anand Prakash


Bubble column reactors, with or without solid particles, have a number of applications in the chemical, petrochemical, biochemical and environmental industries. A number of these industrial applications require internals such as baffles, heat transfer surfaces and special distributors to meet demands. Proper selection and design of these internals can lead to the improved performance and efficiency of a bubble column reactor. Several experiments are carried out in a bubble column equipped with a concentric tube bundle (CT) and an internal combination consisting of a concentric tube bundle and concentric baffle (or static mixer) (CTB) respectively. Neutrally buoyant particles are used to determine the effect of the CT and CTB internals on the local flow structures in the equipped column respectively. More upward, near-linear particle movements are observed with the CTB internal over the CT internal. Several non-linear particle movements are also observed. Overall bulk liquid circulation flow patterns are proposed for the intermediate to high gas velocity range based on the observed local flow structures for both internals. Comparisons are made between the gas holdups obtained during internal equipment and that of a comparable hollow bubble column from the literature. Both internals increase the gas holdup of a hollow bubble column. However, the increases with the CT internal are higher by more than 25% of that obtained with the CTB internal on average. The effect of the internals on average bubble size is investigated for the small bubble class. Smaller average diameters are obtained when the CT internal is used. The interfacial area in the presence of the two internals is determined respectively. Higher interfacial areas are obtained with the CT internal. The average difference in interfacial area is 54.0 m2/m3. The effect of the internals on mixing time is determined through dye and aqueous salt tracer studies. In both instances, higher mixing times are obtained with the CTB internal. Liquid backmixing is quantified through the axial dispersion coefficients obtained from the salt tracer studies. The axial dispersion coefficients obtained with the CT internal are higher than that of the CTB internal by about 15% on average.