Exothermic packed bed catalytic reactors are usually characterised by a low diameter-aspect ratio to facilitate heat transfer. In operation, these reactors often exhibit localized regions with much higher temperatures referred to as hot spots. A new model based on a 2-D network-of voids (NoV) has been devised to explore wall heat transfer behaviour for such low aspect ratio packed tubes. Random placement of (packing) particles is used to provide a simple NoV framework for implicitly creating the tortuous fluid flows amongst the resulting randomized inter-connecting voids. This is a computationally tractable strategy for exploring the haphazard appearance of individual tube pin-hole burn-outs amongst the typically thousands, or tens of thousands, of tubes within high temperature industrial multi-tubular configurations. Although presently limited to 2-D, the model captures many natural features of the flow and heat transfer of randomly packed tubes, especially huge variations in wall and cross flows and consequently massive variations in local wall heat transfer coefficients along the length of individual tubes. The model is potentially superior to those based upon averaged properties, which do not properly distinguish the solid and fluid phases. The network-of-voids concept is readily extended to 3-D, in order to achieve geometric congruence of the model and assemblies of individual particles.
|Journal||International Journal of Chemical Reactor Engineering|
|Publication status||Published - 2008|