Hydrodynamics of a Gas-Solid Counter-Current Downer Reactor Using a Time-Resolved Planar Digital Particle Image Velocimetry and Digital Image Analysis Techniques

  • Abdulrahman Alzailaie

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


This work analyzes the solid flow dynamics of gas-solid downer fluidized bed reactor in co-current and, particularly, in counter-current mode. This reactor is potentially interesting for catalytic applications where very short (sub second) and precise contact times are required between the solid catalyst and the gaseous reactants-products. To this aim, a 1.5 m and 36 mm ID downer reactor setup was built to replicate the conditions in a real unit in cold flow and using materials that enable the observation of the solid particle dynamics. Specifically, two state-of-the-art techniques have been used: Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) and Digital Image Analysis (DIA). Three types of particles have been used: two commercial fluidized catalytic cracking (FCC) particles (ρp = 1300 kg/m3, dp = 75 and 56 μm) and sand (ρp=2600 kg/m3, dp= 370 μm). High-speed cameras were positioned in two axial positions: 70 and 140 cm from the top, to reveal the flow behavior across the reactor. It was found that the solid flow initially was segregated because of the solid feeding design. Thus, 3D printed re-distributer was used to even the solid flow. The solid particles in the counter-current downer was approaching the plug-flow behavior with 23% variation in the velocity gradient across the radial direction, compared with 40% for the co-current counterpart. A method to estimate solid hold-up based on images was developed, yielding values in a good agreement with literature. Keywords: Hydrodynamics, counter-current, downer, PIV, DIA, Solid hold-up
Date of AwardAug 2021
Original languageEnglish (US)
Awarding Institution
  • Physical Sciences and Engineering
SupervisorPedro Castaño (Supervisor)


  • Hydrodynamics
  • counter-current
  • downer
  • PIV
  • DIA
  • Solid hold-up

Cite this