Experimental Study of Flow Patterns and Pressure Drop in Cocurrent Gas-liquid Down Flow in a Packed Column



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Packed bed columns are widely used throughout many chemical processes to carry out reactions between gas and liquid reactants requiring a solid catalyst. Flow patterns and their associated pressure drops are two important parameters that can optimize the operation of these reactors. However, the analysis of these parameters is usually above the understanding of the operators who control the reactors. This thesis evaluates these parameters in a laboratory scale packed column, compares the results to literature values, and analyzes the data in a simpler way using parameters easily found with equipment in a chemical plant. The experimental data reasonably fit the well-known Tosun flow map and a modified Lockhart-Martinelli correlation. New analysis showed that when plotted as a pressure trace standard deviation normalized by its average versus its gas flow rate, the data had a visual change in slope whenever the flow pattern transitioned, giving operators a simpler way to identify transitioning flows.