Bubble generated turbulence and direct numerical simulations
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Gas–liquid two phase flows are widely encountered in industry. The design parameters include two phase pressure drop, mixing and axial mixing in both the phases, effective interfacial area, heat and mass transfer coefficients. Currently, there is a high degree of empiricism in the design process of such reactors owing to the complexity of coupled flow and reaction mechanism. Hence, we focus on synthesizing recent advances in computational and experimental techniques that will enable future designs of such reactors in a more rational manner by exploring a large design space with high-fidelity models (computational fluid dynamics) that are validated with high-fidelity measurements (hot film anemometry (HFA), Laser Doppler anemometry (LDA), particle image velocimetry (PIV), etc.) to provide a high degree of rigor. Understanding the spatial distributions of dispersed phases and their interaction during scale up are key challenges that were traditionally addressed through pilot scale experiments, but now can be addressed through advanced modelling. For practically complete knowledge of the fluid mechanical parameters, it is desirable to implement direct numerical simulations (DNS). However, the current computational power does not permit full DNS for real bubble columns. Therefore, we have been using simplified turbulence models (such as large eddy simulation, Reynolds stress, k–e, etc.) which need the knowledge of turbulence parameters. For the estimation of these parameters, currently semi-empirical procedures are being used pending the knowledge of turbulence. Further, the formulation of governing equations in all the CFD models (except DNS), the knowledge of interface forces (drag, lift, virtual mass, Basset, etc.) is needed and for their estimations empirical correlations are being employed, again pending the knowledge of fluid mechanics under turbulent conditions in bubble columns. In gas–liquid dispersions, the gas is sparged in the form of bubbles. During the bubble rise, the mechanism of wake detachment creates turbulence which can be called as wake generated turbulence. In addition, energy gets transferred from the gas phase to liquid phase. The quantitative amounts are negligible when bubble motion is not hindered and the gas–liquid dispersion is homogenous. The amounts increase with an increase in the extent of hindrance. However, in the homogenous regime, even under extreme conditions, the extent of energy transfer in the bulk gas–liquid dispersions (volume other than wake volume) is fairly limited. On contrast, in the heterogeneous regime, the rates of energy transfer become sizeable. The energy received by the liquid (in both the regimes) also creates turbulent motion and termed as bulk generated turbulence. In turbulent flows a compendium of eddies (flow structures) of different length and time scales contribute towards improved/enhanced mixing, momentum transfer, heat transfer, and mass transfer (transport phenomena). Hence, a proper understanding of the dynamics of these turbulent flow structures, and their role in the transport phenomena, can bring substantial improvement in the scale-up and design procedures. The present paper brings out the current status of knowledge on bubble generated turbulence. All the published literature in experimental measurements and DNS simulations has been critically analysed and coherently presented.
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