Experimental and cfd studies of the hydrodynamics in wet agglomeration process
Journal article, 2018
In this study, an experimentally validated computational model was developed to investigate the hydrodynamics in a rotor-stator vortex agglomeration reactor RVR having a rotating disc at the centre with two shrouded outer plates. A numerical simulation was performed using a simplified form of the reactor geometry to compute the 3-D flow field in batch mode operations. Thereafter, the model was validated using data from a 2-D Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) flow analysis performed during the design of the reactor. Using different operating speeds, namely 70, 90, 110, and 130 rpm, the flow fields were computed numerically, followed by a comprehensive data analysis. The simulation results showed separated boundary layers on the rotating disc and the stator. The flow field within the reactor was characterized by a rotational plane circular forced vortex flow, in which the streamlines are concentric circles with a rotational vortex. Overall, the results of the numerical simulation demonstrated a fairly good agreement between the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) model and the experimental data, as well as the available theoretical predictions. The swirl ratio β was found to be approximately 0.4044, 0.4038, 0.4044, and 0.4043 for the operating speeds of N = 70, 90, 110, and 130 rpm, respectively. In terms of the spatial distribution, the turbulence intensity and kinetic energy were concentrated on the outer region of the reactor, while the circumferential velocity showed a decreasing intensity towards the shroud. However, a comparison of the CFD and experimental predictions of the tangential velocity and the vorticity amplitude profiles showed that these parameters were under-predicted by the experimental analysis, which could be attributed to some of the experimental limitations rather than the robustness of the CFD model or numerical code.