Investigating the Influence of the Configuration of the Bundle of Heat Exchanging Tubes and Column Size on the Gas Holdup Distributions in Bubble Columns Via Gamma-Ray Computed Tomography


The impact of dense vertical internal tubes and their configurations on the gas holdup distributions and their diametrical profiles in pilot-scale bubble column is visualized and quantified for the first time ever using an advanced gamma-ray computed tomography (CT) technique. Two arrangements of vertical internals (circular and hexagonal configurations) occupying the same cross-sectional area (CSA) of the column (about 25% of the total cross-sectional area to represent the heat exchanging tubes that are used in the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis), were examined in addition to the measurement in the bubble column without vertical internals. Moreover, the gas holdup distribution results of the 18-inch (0.46 m in outer diameter, O.D.) bubble column are compared with an available data of 6-inch (0.15 m in O.D.) bubble columns with and without vertical internals. CT scans have been conducted for 18-inch bubble columns with and without vertical internals for the air-water system under a wide range of superficial gas velocity (0.05-0.45 m/s). The experimental results indicate that an improvement in the gas holdup distribution over the column's cross-sectional area is obtained when the vertical internal tubes (arranged in either a circular or a hexagonal configuration) were used. However, better cross-sectional gas holdup distribution was achieved in the bubble column with vertical internals arranged in a hexagonal configuration as compared to the bubble column without and with vertical internals arranged in a circular arrangement. Additionally, the averages of the cross-sectional gas holdup and their profiles for bubble column with and without vertical internals are close to each other when the bubble column with vertical internals is operating at a high superficial gas velocity, which is calculated based on the free cross-sectional area for the flow. Furthermore, the gas holdup distributions are further improved when the larger bubble column with vertical internals was used as compared to the 6-inch bubble columns with and without vertical internals.


Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Center for High Performance Computing Research

Keywords and Phrases

Computed Tomography (CT); Configurations of Vertical Internals; Gas Holdup Distribution; Pilot-Scale Bubble Column; Vertical Internal Tubes

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2018 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Nov 2018