Many different types of multiphase flow chemical reactors manifest multi-scale structures in both phase distribution and velocities. Recent experiments and simulations suggest that these structures form initially at small scale and evolve into larger scales, which affect reactor performance. Such structures in trickle bed reactors and circulating fluidized bed risers are discussed as illustrative examples. Process modifications aimed at improving reactor performance generally tend to correct for macro-scale inhomogeneous structures by disrupting the macro-scale coherent structures. It is suggested that significant improvements in reactor performance can emerge through material and process innovations aimed at disrupting these structures at the small scale where they originate.
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