Hydrodynamics of expanded bed adsorption studied through CFD-DEM

Tim M.J. Nijssen*, Johan T. Padding, Marcel Ottens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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The hydrodynamics of the Expanded Bed Adsorption process is studied through simulations combining Computational Fluid Dynamics and the Discrete Element Method. A representative base case is defined, based on process design parameters commonly encountered in literature. Then, 19 other cases are defined, each representing a singular adjustment to the column design, material properties, or operating conditions. The parameters that are varied are the expansion factor, liquid viscosity, bed aspect ratio, mean particle density, width of the particle density distribution, width of the particle size distribution, column taper angle, and column alignment angle. The impact of each adjustment on the bed behaviour is discussed, using the local particle size distribution and solids dispersion coefficient as main indicators of bed stability. Optimal performance was found for an expansion factor of two to three, and the combination of particle size distribution and particle density distribution was found to greatly improve bed stability. The mixing process of the liquid and solid phases is concluded to be of highly complex nature, and cannot simply be predicted from the liquid flow velocity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number119027
Number of pages13
JournalChemical Engineering Science
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Dutch Research Council NWO [grant number 729.001.002 ], and made use of the Dutch national e-infrastructure with the support of the SURF Cooperative [grant number EINF-3414 ].


  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Discrete element method
  • Expanded bed adsorption
  • Hydrodynamics
  • Liquid-solid fluidisation


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