CFD modeling of flow patterns and hydraulics of commercial-scale sieve trays

Getye Gesit, K. Nandakumar, K. T. Chuang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


A computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model was used to predict the flow patterns and hydraulics of a commercial-scale sieve tray. The model considers the 3-D two-phase flow of gas and liquid in which each phase is treated as an interpenetrating continuum having separate transport equations. Interaction between the two phases occurs via an interphase momentum transfer. For the CFD analysis, the commercial packages CFX5.4 and CFX4.4 of AEA Technology were employed. Velocity distributions, clear liquid height, froth height, and liquid holdup fraction in froth were predicted for various combinations of gas and liquid flow rates. Tray geometry and operating conditions were based on the experimental work that Solari and Bell carried out in a 1.22-m diameter air - water simulator in 1986 at Fractionation Research Inc. Predicted results were found to be in good agreement with the experimental data of these authors. The objective of the work was studying the extent to which CFD can be used as a prediction and design tool for industrial trays. The simulation results are such that CFD can be used as an invaluable tool in tray design and analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)910-924
Number of pages15
JournalAICHE Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2003
Externally publishedYes


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