Conference Dates

May 22-27, 2016


Many operations in the chemical and energy-conversion industries rely on the fluidization of heterogeneous materials. During fluidization, particles of different densities can segregate, even if they are of the same size. Segregation is typically an undesired phenomenon, especially in fluidized bed reactors (1). Thus, an understanding of segregation on a fundamental level is paramount to identify effective measures to control it. One approach to control segregation could be the vibration of the bed vessel. However, there is very little literature available concerning the effect of vibration on density-induced segregation dynamics (2).

Thus, this work studies the influence of vibration on density-induced segregation dynamics in a gas fluidized bed. Experiments were carried out in a pseudo-2D bed of 0.2 m width, 0.5 m height and 0.01 m thickness. The bed was filled with black, ballotini spheres (density 2500 kg/m3) mixed with heavier, white, ceramic particles (density 4100 kg/m3 and 6000 kg/m3). All particles have an average diameter of 1.1 mm. The bed was fluidized by air and vibrated by an electrodynamic shaker. High-speed images were recorded through the transparent front wall of the bed. Digital Image Analysis (DIA) was used to characterize the rate and extent of particle mixing with time (see Figure 1). At the start of the experiments the particles were mixed.

The results obtained indicate that both the vibration strength and the gas velocity have an important effect on both the rate and the maximum degree of segregation of particles. We observed that particles become segregated for fluidization velocities greater than the minimum fluidization velocity of the denser particles. Adding vertical vibration to this system tended to enhance density-induced segregation. Interestingly, we found that, for sufficiently high vibration strengths, the degree of segregation decreased with vibration. These results indicate that by a judicious choice of the vibration strength and the fluidization velocity density-induced segregation can be controlled.


  1. W-C. Yang, Handbook of fluidization and fluid-particle systems, CRC Press, 2003.
  2. L. Sun, F. Zhao, Q. Zhang, D. Li, H. Lu, Numerical simulation of particle segregation in vibration fluidized bed, Chem. Eng. Technol., 37(12):2109-2115, 2014.

Please click Additional Files below to see the full abstract.