Experimental Visualization and Investigation of Multiphase Flow Regime Transitions in Two-Dimensional Trickle Bed Reactors

Humair Nadeem, Imen Ben Salem, Mohamed Sassi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Different flow regimes are known to occur in the interaction of multiphase gas–liquid flows over packed beds of solid particles, such as those observed in trickle bed reactors (TBRs). There are four major flow regimes that are known to occur in downward cocurrent flow in TBRs, namely: trickle, pulse, bubble, and mist flow regimes. In this work, the focus is on macro-scale experimental visualizations and investigations of the flow regimes in a two-dimensional TBR. Experimental observations are made to investigate the development and transition of these flow regimes over a wide range of liquid and gas velocities. Cylindrical particles are placed between two glass plates that are sealed on the sides, and water and air are injected over them using an injection manifold to simulate multiphase flow in a TBR. A diffused light emitting device (LED) light table is used to illuminate the experimental window, while real time images are obtained using a high-speed camera. Flow maps are reported depicting all four regimes and the transition regions between them. Transition regions occur where the characteristics of more than one flow regime coexist. The 2D experimental results are then compared with the existing literature data of three dimensional results and found to be in good agreement. Emphasis is placed on the transition between the trickle and pulse regimes, since that is the most important mode of operation in industrial TBRs. It is observed that the change in diameters of the cylindrical particles in a two-dimensional TBR has little effect on the transition between the flow regimes when the porosity of the bed is kept constant.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)388-397
Number of pages10
JournalChemical Engineering Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - 4 Mar 2017


  • Flow map
  • Flow regime transition
  • Flow visualization
  • Pulse flow
  • Trickle bed reactor
  • Trickle flow
  • Two-dimensional


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