Coalescence of secondary dispersions in fibrous beds

  • Nael G. Shalhoub

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


A study has been made of the coalescence of secondary dispersions in a fibrous bed. The literature pertaining to the formation, hydrodynamic behaviour and methods of separation of droplets less than one hundred micrometres in diameter has been reviewed with particular reference to fibrous bed coalescers. The main operating parameters were identified as inlet drop size distribution, phase ratio, superficial velocity and the thickness and voidage of the bed .
A recirculatory rig with interchangeable fibrous bed pads was designed and operated with toluene-water dispersions generated by a combination of centrifugal pumps . Inlet drop sizes were analysed using a Coulter Counter and outlet drops were sized photographically.
A novel technique, involving conductivity measur ements at different planes in the bed, was developed to measure hold up distribution.
Single phase flow and two phase flow pressure drops were correlated by a Blake-Kozeny type equation. Exit drop size was independent of inlet drop size distribution and phase ratio but a function of superficialvelocity and packing thickness. Average bed hold up was independent of inlet drop size distribution and phase ratio, but decreased with increase in superficial velocity. Hold up was not evenly distributed in the bed, the highest value occurred at the inlet followed by a sharp -2 drop at approximately 1.2 x 10 m. Hold up remained constant throughout the rest of the bed until the exit plane, where it increased.
From the results, a mechanism is postulated involving:
(a) Capture of the inlet drops followed by interdrop coalescence until an equilibrium value is reached.
(b) Equilibrium size droplets flowing as rivulets through the intermediate portion of the bed, and
(c) Each rivulet forms droplets at the exit face, which detach by a 'drip point' mechanism.
Date of Award1975
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorG.V. Jeffreys (Supervisor)


  • Coalescence
  • secondary dispersions
  • fibrous beds

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