Bubble column reactors are used for several processes in the chemical industry, e.g. hydrogenation or oxidation reactions. At the bottom of the reactor a gaseous phase is dispersed into a continuous liquid phase with suspended particles. The resulting bubble swarm induces three-dimensional, time-dependent velocity and concentration fields, which are predicted numerically. All phases are described by an Eulerian approach. The numerical calculations of the local interfacial area density and the interphase transfer terms for mass and momentum are based on a population balance equation approach which enables an effective way to couple population balance and computational fluid dynamics. In three-phase gas-liquid-solid flow particles with diameters of 100 μm are considered as catalyst for a heterogeneous chemical reaction. The influence of particles on bubble coalescence has been investigated in order to extend an existing model for the kernel functions in the population balance equation describing bubble coalescence and dispersion. The resulting three-dimensional, time-dependent velocity and concentration fields are described and graphically presented for the hydrogenation of anthra-chinone.

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