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INTERPRETATION OF FLOW NONUNIFORMITY AND HYSTERESIS WITH A CAPILLARY ARRAY MODEL

Mao Zaisha Wang Yuefa Wang Rong Chen Jiayong Institute of Chemical Metallurgy, Academia Sinica, Beijing 100080, China To whom correspondence should be addressed.  
A novel capillary array model is proposed to shed light on the development of the maldistribution of cocurrent downward gas-liquid flow and the hysteretic performance behavior in a packed column. The model is based on the principle of nonequilibrium thermodynamics and in combination with lateral random walk of elemental liquid rivulets. The liquid distribution over a one-dimensional array of capillaries is simulated and the basic features of gas-liquid flow in packed beds are demonstrated. With proper correspondence of hysteresis branches with nonuniformity of flow distribution assumed, the experimentally observed hysteresis in pressure drop, liquid holdup and mass transfer rate can be qualitatively simulated. Strenuous efforts are still required for further developing this model into a predictive tool for the evaluation of performance of packed-bed type devices.
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