Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Chemical and Biochemical Engineering


Dr. Anand Prakash


Internals of different types are required in a number of industrial applications of bubble columns to achieve the desired mixing or to remove the heat of reaction to maintain desired temperature and isothermal conditions of operation. Some of these applications include Fischer-Tropsch synthesis, methanol synthesis, and production of dimethyl ether (DME). The presence of internals however can alter the column hydrodynamics and mixing patterns which could influence reactor performance. A fast response probe capable of capturing bubble dynamics, as well as detecting flow direction is used to study the effect of internals on local heat transfer and column hydrodynamics in a bubble column with and without solid particles. It captured the temporal variations in heat transfer coefficients due to changes in local hydrodynamic conditions. Measurements obtained in presence of different configurations and combinations of internals are compared with those without internals to elucidate the effects of internals design and configurations. Comparisons are based on average values and fluctuating component of local temporal variations of the heat transfer coefficient obtained with the fast response probe. The average gas holdup, center line liquid, and bubble rise velocities obtained with and without internals are also compared. The observed differences are discussed based on the insights provided by these comparisons. The heat transfer coefficient and gas holdup increases in presence of internals. Relationships between local heat transfer measurements and hydrodynamic conditions with internals are shown and discussed. The observed increase in heat transfer coefficients with scale can be related to increase in liquid circulation velocity with column diameter, which in turn is related to an increase in large bubbles rise velocity.