Gas distribution in shallow large diameter packed beds

  • Quasim H. Ali

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


It is important to maintain a uniform distribution of gas and liquid in large diameter packed columns to maintain mass transfer efficiency on scaling up. This work presents measurements and methods of evaluating maldistributed gas flow in packed columns. Little or no previous work has been done in this field. A gas maldistribution number, F, was defined, based on point to point velocity variations in the gas emerging from the top of packed beds. f has a minimum value for a uniformly distributed flow and much larger values for maldistributed flows. A method of testing the quality of vapour distributors is proposed, based on "the variation of f with packed height. A good gas distributor requires a short packed depth to give a good gas distribution. Measurements of gas maldistribution have shown that the principle of dynamic similarity is satisfied if two geometrically similar beds are operated at the same Reynold's number. The validity of f as a good measure of gas maldistribution, and the principle of dynamic similarity are tested statistically by Multi-Factor Analysis of the variance, and visually by the response "surfaces technique. Pressure distribution has been measured in a model of a large diameter packed bed, and shown to be associated with the velocity of the gas in a tangential feed pipe. Two simplified theoretical models are proposed to describe the flow of gases through packed beds and to support the principle of dynamic similarity. These models explain why the packed bed itself causes the flow of gas to become more uniformly distributed. A 1.2m. diameter scaled-down model was constructed geometrically similar to a 7.3m. diameter vacuum crude distillation column. The previously known internal cylinder gas distributor was tested. Three new distributors suitable for use in a large diameter column were developed and tested, these are: Internal Cylinder with Slots and Cross Baffles, Internal Cylinder with Guides in the Annulus, Internal Cylinder with Internal Cross Baffles - It has been shown that this is an excellent distributor.

Date of Award1984
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorKaren E. Porter (Supervisor)


  • gas maldistribution
  • shallow
  • large
  • diameter
  • packed beds
  • pump around
  • gas distributors
  • fluid mechanics
  • scale-up

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