Electrical capacitance tomography measurements on vertical and inclined pneumatic conveying of granular solids

Kewu Zhu, S. Madhusudana Rao, Chi Hwa Wang, Sankaran Sundaresan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


Pneumatic conveying of granular solids in vertical and inclined risers was studied using electrical capacitance tomography (ECT). The focus of the study was on flow development past a smooth bend connecting the riser to a horizontal duct which brought the gas-particle mixture to the riser. In the vertical riser, dispersed flow manifested a core-annular structure, whose development is discussed. Three different time-dependent flow patterns were imaged. Slugging flow, which appeared to be intrinsic to riser flow, took the form of alternating bands of core-annular disperse flow and a slug with a particle-rich core. Averaging over these two structures yielded a composite distribution with high particle concentration both at the axis and the wall region. Pulsing flow, whose ECT fingerprint was similar to that of slugging flow, was largely an entrance effect. Stationary and moving annular capsules with a dilute core were also observed, and such flow patterns do not appear to have been reported previously. Our ECT measurements probing the development of disperse flow in an inclined riser past a bend revealed that the particle loading initially decreased, subsequently increased and then leveled off. Regimes such as eroding dune flow and flow over a settled layer could be easily imaged using ECT. The surface of the settled layer had a concave shape, suggesting that the particles were picked up from the settled layer by airflow at the center and deposited on the sides of the tube.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4225-4245
Number of pages21
JournalChemical Engineering Science
Issue number18
StatePublished - Sep 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


  • Capacitance tomography
  • Granular material
  • Pneumatic conveying


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