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Numerical investigation of heavy fuel droplet-particle collisions in the injection zone of a Fluid Catalytic Cracking reactor, part II: 3D simulations

Malgarinos, I., Nikolopoulos, N. & Gavaises, M. (2017). Numerical investigation of heavy fuel droplet-particle collisions in the injection zone of a Fluid Catalytic Cracking reactor, part II: 3D simulations. Fuel Processing Technology, 156, pp. 43-53. doi: 10.1016/j.fuproc.2016.09.012


This study investigates the collisions between heavy gasoil droplets and solid catalytic particles taking place at conditions realized in Fluid Catalytic Cracking reactors (FCC). The computational model utilizes the Navier-Stokes equations along with the energy conservation and transport of species equations. The VOF methodology is used in order to track the liquid-gas interface, coupled with a dynamic local grid refinement technique in order to minimize the computational cost. Phase-change phenomena, as well as catalytic cracking surface reactions (2-lump scheme) are taken into account. In this paper, the numerical model is extended to investigate the droplet-particle collision process in three dimensions. In order to save computational resources, only half of the droplet is investigated, by imposing symmetry conditions. Firstly, single droplet-catalyst collisions are simulated and compared against the corresponding ones provided by 2D axisymmetric simulations and afterwards, the model is applied for the characterization of the collision dynamics between a single droplet and a particle cluster, i.e. a realistic 3D particle configuration. As the droplet flows through the space between the catalytic particles, important phenomena are observed, such as a) drop levitation due to the formed vapour layer and b) a thin liquid sheet formation, both of which affect the rate of gasoline production, as well as predictions for liquid pore blocking mechanism; a phenomenon frequently observed industrially. Results indicate that gasoline production decreases when the collision target is a particle cluster, instead of same number (as many as in the cluster) single catalysts, as the corresponding contact area decreases.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2017, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Publisher Keywords: VOF; FCC; Droplet; Particle; Cluster; Collisions
Subjects: T Technology > TJ Mechanical engineering and machinery
Departments: School of Science & Technology > Engineering
SWORD Depositor:
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