Modelling of turbulent flow in a bubble column reactor

V. V. Ranade*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


A comprehensive mathematical model for describing flow, turbulence and gas hold-up distribution in a bubble column reactor is developed. For large diameter bubble columns (>0.1 m), operated with the zero or low liquid throughput, sparged gas tends to pass preferentially through the central portion of the column. This non-uniform gas hold-up distribution leads to macroscale circulation and turbulence in the reactor. Two new mechanisms are proposed and modelled to explain such a non-uniform gas hold-up distribution in bubble columns. The influence of accompanying wakes and of the column wall on the motion of gas bubbles is accounted for for the first time. Turbulent, dispersed gas-liquid flow is described by the time averaged two phase momentum equations. The turbulent stresses are simulated using a k-ε model. Extra terms arising from the gas hold-up fluctuations and pressure gradients are included in the model. The predicted flow characteristics of the bubble column reactor are verified by comparison with the published experimental data over a wide range.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-23
Number of pages10
JournalChemical Engineering Research and Design
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Bubble column
  • CFD
  • Gas-liquid flow
  • Turbulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Polymers and Plastics


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