We are pleased to announce the new paper 'Pattern formation in fluidized beds as a tool for model validation: A two-fluid model based study' published by NICE group members: Kaiqiao Wu, Lilian de Martín, Luca Mazzei and Marc-Olivier Coppens, in Powder Technology, Volume 295, July 2016, Pages 35–42.
Open Access funded by the EPSRC
Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models have been broadly used during the last twenty years to engineer and understand fluidized beds. Nevertheless, there is some controversy about the rigor of their current validation methodologies (Powder Technol. 139 (2004), 99). A robust tool to determine whether or not a model reproduces—let alone, can predict—the dynamics of a fluidized bed is still missing. This is especially relevant for the validation of the fluid-particle closures that are emerging with the help of direct numerical simulation.
More than a decade ago, it was demonstrated experimentally that regular patterns emerge in pulsed fluidized beds under certain experimental conditions. These patterns are not a singular feature of the dynamics, such as average bubble size or bed expansion, but form as a result of a precise coupling between multi-scale physical phenomena. Remarkably, CFD has not been able, so far, to reproduce the experimental bubble patterns convincingly.
In this work, we want to bring to the attention of the fluidization community the power of pattern formation in fluidized beds as a tool for model validation. As a proof of concept, we apply this validation test to two-fluid models. Our two-fluid simulations reproduce bubble properties reasonably well, but fail to reproduce the experimentally witnessed patterns, suggesting that the physics of the fluidized state are not correctly captured by this approach, under any of its common implementations.