Advanced analysis of liquid dispersion and gas-liquid mass transfer in a bubble column with dense vertical internals

Felix Möller, Alan MacIsaac, Yuk Man Lau, Eckhard Schleicher, Uwe Hampel, Markus Schubert*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The influence of dense vertical tube bundles in a batch bubble column reactor (BCR) of 100 mm diameter and 1100 mm clear liquid height on liquid dispersion and gas-liquid mass transfer was studied. In particular, the effects of different tube patterns (triangular and square pitch), tube diameters (8 and 13 mm) and bottom end designs (flat and U-tube) having a tube diameter-to-pitch ratio of approx. 1.3 were investigated. Dispersion coefficients were determined based on conductive tracer experiments recorded via wire-mesh sensors (WMS) with up to 90 measurement points distributed in the column's cross-section in between the tubes. The gas-liquid mass transfer coefficient was determined via fast-responding oxygen needle probes. Tube pitch and pattern were identified as the most crucial design parameters for the extent of liquid dispersion. We found that particularly the U-tube bottom end design induces large liquid circulation patterns, which enhance dispersion. The presence of internals decreases the kla value as a consequence of turbulence damping, which is also confirmed by lower kl values (e.g. 0.6 × 10−3 m s−1 for the empty BCR and 0.25 × 10−3 m s−1 for the square pitch with 8 mm tubes at 0.05 m s−1 superficial gas velocity), whereas the pitch is the most decisive design parameter. The U-tube bottom end design was identified as the most beneficial configuration with respect to liquid mixing and gas-liquid mass transfer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-588
JournalChemical Engineering Research and Design
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • 2D dispersion model
  • Bubble column
  • Gas-liquid mass transfer
  • Heat exchanger internals
  • Wire-mesh sensor


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