Conference Dates

May 16-21, 2010


Accurately predicting the entrainment rate is important in designing a commercial fluidized bed. However, most correlations fall short in providing an accurate prediction of the entrainment rate. Many correlations assume that smaller particles have a higher entrainment rate than larger particles; but, this is often not the case. Smaller particles can, and often do, have lower effective entrainment rates than larger particles. This has been presumed from several different experiments. In one case, the entrainment rate of FCC catalyst fines was measured at different fluidized bed heights and found that higher entrainment fluxes were observed at lower bed heights (i.e., higher disengaging heights). In a second case, it was found in a batch entrainment test that with an initial high concentration the fines level in the entrainment flux was very low. As the fines were gradually elutriated away, the entrainment flux increased dramatically. Following a dramatic increase to a maximum, the entrainment flux then exhibited the classical batch exponential decay as the fines were elutriated from the fluidized bed. Recently, high speed video of particles in a fluidized bed freeboard was able to image and track large clusters of particles in the range of 200 microns to 1000 microns when the bed material had a mean particle size of only 25 microns. All of these findings suggests that fine particles in many materials are clumping or clustering. This increases their effective particle diameter which reduces the entrainment rate. The clumps appear to be formed in the fluidized bed, and are ejected into the freeboard. High-speed videos obtained using observations through a borescope inserted into a fluidized bed at PSRI have confirmed the presence of clusters in fluidized beds. Such a phenomenon has many implications regarding how entrainment may be influenced by fines level, bed height, baffles, jet velocity at the distributor, etc.