CFD simulation and experimental study of flow in packed bubble columns

F. H. Yin, J. L. Midgley, A. Afacan, K. Nandakumar*, K. T. Chuang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The gas holdup in a small-scale packed bubble column with dimensions of 35 mm wide and 10mm deep was measured for air-water system. The effect of gas flow rate on gas holdup was investigated for various packings such as spheres, Berl saddles, and knitted meshes. In all cases it was found that the gas holdup increases with increasing gas flow rate. In addition, bubble size distribution was measured from image analysis. The hydrodynamics in the packed bubble column was simulated using volume-averaged equations. The closure models for describing the flow resistance due to the presence of packing particles and interphase drag force between gas bubbles and liquid phase were incorporated into the volume-averaged equations. The simulations were conducted under experimental conditions using the commercial CFD software CFX4.3. Good agreement between the simulation results and the experimental data indicates that CFD simulation can play a useful role in the analysis and design of packed bubble columns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1417-1436
Number of pages20
JournalChemical Engineering Communications
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • CFD simulation
  • Gas holdup
  • Packed bubble column


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