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Frontiers of Chemical Science and Engineering >> 2011, Volume 5, Issue 2 doi: 10.1007/s11705-010-1019-2

Investigation of bubble diameter and flow regime between water and dilute aqueous ethanol solutions in an airlift reactor

Department of Chemical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Arak University, Arak 38156-8-8349, Iran

Available online: 2011-06-05

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In this study, the effect of ethanol addition into pure water and its concentration on bubble diameter, gas hold-up and flow regimes were investigated in an airlift reactor. Air and water with ethanol (concentration ranging from 0%–1%, v/v) were as dispersed and continuous phases, respectively. Superficial gas velocity was considered as an effective parameter. Bubble size distribution was measured by photography and picture analysis at various concentrations of ethanol and various velocities of gas. Alcohol concentration enhancement caused bubble diameter to decrease. Furthermore, the bubbles diameter in pure water was nearly 4 times higher than that of ethanol with concentration of 1% (v/v) and also was 3.4 times higher than that of ethanol with concentration of 0.25% (v/v) at the highest aeration gas velocity inlet. For ethanol solutions in lower superficial gas velocity, a homogenous flow regime was observed. This trend continued to inlet gas velocity of about 0.4 cm/s. The transition flow regime occurred after this datum although in pure water, a homogenous flow regime was observed up to a superficial gas velocity of 0.7 cm/s. The gas hold-up in dilute ethanol solutions were more than (around 2 times) that of pure water and increased with increasing concentration of ethanol in those solutions.

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