Numerical Analysis of Multiphase Flow in Bubble Columns and Applications for Microbial Fuel Cells
Picardi, Robert N.
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Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling was used to predict the hydrodynamics of a column reactor. Bubble columns have applications across many engineering disciplines and improved modeling techniques help to increase the accuracy of numerical predictions. An Eulerian-Eulerian multi-fluid model was used to simulate fluidization and to capture the complex physics associated therewith. The commercial code ANSYS Fluent was used to study two-dimensional gas-liquid bubble columns. A comprehensive parameter study, including a detailed investigation of grid resolution was performed. Specific attention was paid to the bubble diameter, as it was shown to be related to cell size have significant effects on the characteristics of the flow. The parameters used to compare the two-dimensional (2D) cases to experimental results of Rampure, et. al. were then applied to a three-dimensional (3D) geometry. It was demonstrated that the increase in accuracy from 2D to 3D is negligible compared to the increase in CPU required to simulate the entire 3D domain. Additionally, the reaction chamber of a microbial fuel cell (MFC) was modeled and a preliminary parameter study investigating inlet velocity, temperature, and acetate concentration was conducted. MFCs are used in wastewater treatment and have the potential to treat water while simultaneously harvesting electricity. The spiral spacer and chemical reactions were modeled in a 3D geometry, and it was determined that inlet velocity was the most influential parameter that was simulated. There were also significant differences between the 2D and 3D geometries used to predict the MFC hydrodynamics.
- Masters Theses