Flowback of solids through distribution plates of gas fluidized beds and associated phenomena

  • Walid M.S. Kassim

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This work is concerned with a study of certain phenomena related to the performance and design of distributors in gas fluidized beds with particular regard to flowback of solid particles. The work to be described is divided into two parts.
I. In Part one, a review of published material pertaining to distribution plates, including details from the patent specifications, has been prepared. After a chapter on the determination of the incipient fluidizing velocity, the following aspects of multi-orifice distributor plates in gas fluidized beds have been studied:
(i) The effect of the distributor on bubble formation related to the way in which even distribution of bubbles on the top surface of the fluidized bed is obtained, e.g. the desirable pressure drop ratio ?PD/?PB for the even distribution of gas across the bed.
Ratios of distributor pressure drop ?PD to bed pressure drop at which stable fluidization occurs show reasonable agreement with industrial practice. There is evidence that larger diameter beds tend to be less stable than smaller diameter beds when these are operated with shallow beds.
Experiments show that in the presence of the bed the distributor pressure drop is reduced relative to the pressure drop without the bed, and this pressure drop in the former condition is regarded as the appropriate parameter for the design of the distributor.
(ii) Experimental measurements of bubble distribution at the surface has been used to indicate maldistribution within the bed. Maldistribution is more likely at low gas flow rates and with distributors having large fractional free area characteristics (i.e. with distributors having low pressure drops).
Bubble sizes obtained from this study, as well as those of others, have been successfully correlated. The correlation produced implies the existence of a bubble at the surface of an orifice and its growth by the addition of excess gas from the fluidized bed.
(iii) For a given solid system, the amount of defluidized particles stagnating on the distributor plate is influenced by the orifice spacing, bed diameter and gas flow rate, but independent of the initial bed height and the way the orifices are arranged on the distributor plate.
II. In Part two, solids flowback through single and multi-orifice distributors in two-dimensional and cylindrical beds of solids fluidized with air has been investigated. Distributors equipped with long cylindrical nozzles have also been included in the study.
An equation for the prediction of free flowback of solids through multi-orifice distributors has been derived. Under fluidized conditions two regimes of flowback have been differentiated, namely Jumping and weeping. Data in the weeping regime have been successfully correlated. The limiting gas velocity through the distributor orifices at which flowback is completely excluded is found to be indepnndent of bed height, but a function of distributor design and physical properties of gas and solid used. A criterion for the prediction of this velocity has been established.
The decisive advantage of increasing the distributor thickness or using nozzles to minimize solids flowback in fluidized beds has been observed and the opportunity taken to explore this poorly studied subject area. It has been noted, probably for the first time, that with long nozzles, there exists a critical nozzle length above which uncontrollable downflow of solids occurs. A theoretical model for predicting the critical length of a bundle of nozzles in terms of gas velocity through the nozzles has been set up. Theoretical calculations compared favourably with experiments.
Date of AwardAug 1972
Original languageEnglish


  • flowback of solids
  • distribution plates
  • gas fluidized beds
  • associated phenomena

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