Liquid and Solids Phase Backmixing in a Bubble and Slurry Bubble Column using a Virtual Tracer Response Methodology based on the Trajectory Data of the Radioactive Particle Tracking (RPT) Technique


Virtual tracer response methodology developed based on the trajectory data of the computer aided radioactive particle tracking (CARPT) technique was demonstrated. The demonstrated virtual tracer technique has advantages of non-invasiveness, near perfect injection/sampling, and flexibility in choosing the sampling/injection boundaries in a specific spatial pattern. With the developed virtual tracer technique, liquid and solids backmixing were investigated at the conditions mimicking Fischer-Tropsch synthesis. Experiments were conducted at different pressure, solids loading, and superficial gas velocity. The axial dispersion model (ADM) and recirculation and cross flow dispersion (RCFD) models were used to model the liquid mixing. Transient sedimentation dispersion model (SDM) was used to model the solids mixing. It was found that the measured axial dispersion coefficient (Dl) in the ADM model increases with increase in the pressure. The increase of dispersion coefficient was explained with the experimental values of mean axial diffusivity and mean recirculation velocity. Axial dispersion coefficients (Dz,uDz,d) in the RCFD model (compartment model) were apparently lower than the Dl, due to the decoupling of global recirculation from the dispersion coefficients in the RCFD. Further, it was found that the dispersion coefficients in the RCFD model follow the trend of the axial eddy diffusivity with change in the operating conditions revealing the dominance of the turbulence in the upflow and downflow compartments. From the solids backmixing study, axial dispersion coefficient (Ds) of solids was found to increase with increase in the solids loading, pressure, and superficial gas velocity at the studied conditions.


Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Center for High Performance Computing Research

Publication Status

Early View (Online Version of Record before inclusion in an issue)


Published online: 11 May 2021

The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of High Pressure Slurry Bubble Column (HPSBC) consortium members ConocoPhillips (USA), EniTechnologie (Italy), Sasol (South Africa) and Statoil (Norway).

Keywords and Phrases

Backmixing; Dispersion; High Pressure Slurry Bubble Column; Virtual Tracer

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0008-4034; 1939-019X

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2021 Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

11 May 2021