Effects of particle size and concentration on bubble coalescence and froth formation in a slurry bubble column


Sarhan, A. R.; Naser, J.; Brooks, G.


A new approach for simulating the formation of a froth layer in a slurry bubble column is proposed. Froth is considered a separate phase, comprised of a mixture of gas, liquid, and solid. The simulation was carried out using commercial flow simulation software (FIRE v2014) for particle sizes of 60-150. μm at solid concentrations of 0-40. vol%, and superficial gas velocities of 0.02-0.034. m/s in a slurry bubble column with a hydraulic diameter of 0.2. m and height of 1.2. m. Modelling calculations were conducted using a Eulerian-Eulerian multiphase approach with k-ε turbulence. The population balance equations for bubble breakup, bubble coalescence rate, and the interfacial exchange of mass and momentum were included in the computational fluid dynamics code by writing subroutines in Fortran to track the number density of different bubble sizes. Flow structure, radial gas holdup, and Sauter mean bubble diameter distributions at different column heights were predicted in the pulp zone, while froth volume fraction and density were predicted in the froth zone. The model was validated using available experimental data, and the predicted and experimental results showed reasonable agreement. To demonstrate the effect of increasing solid concentration on the coalescence rate, a solid-effect multiplier in the coalescence efficiency equation was used. The solid-effect multiplier decreased with increasing slurry concentration, causing an increase in bubble coalescence efficiency. A slight decrease in the coalescence efficiency was also observed owing to increasing particle size, which led to a decrease in Sauter mean bubble diameter. The froth volume fraction increased with solid concentration. These results provide an improved understanding of the dynamics of slurry bubble reactors in the presence of hydrophilic particles.

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Elsevier BV


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