The role of contact stresses and wall friction on fluidization

Peter N. Loezos, Paola Costamagna, Sankaran Sundaresan

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69 Scopus citations


Fluidization and defluidization experiments, where we increased the gas superficial velocity in small increments and then decreased it, were performed in tubes of different diameters to probe the role of wall friction on pressure drop and bed height. Such experiments, covering the regimes of packed bed, stable bed expansion and bubbling bed, were carried out for several different particles. The compressive yield strength of the particle assemblies at various volume fractions was determined by measuring the height of fully defluidized beds at various mass loading levels. The systematic effect of the tube diameter on pressure drop and bed height hysteresis could be rationalized in terms of a one-dimensional model that accounted for the effect of wall friction and path-dependent contact stresses in the particle phase. Bubbling seemed to set in when the yield stress in the particle assembly could be overcome by the inherent fluctuations. Our experiments, which focused primarily on gas velocities below the minimum bubbling conditions, did not reveal any dramatic change across the Geldart A-B boundary. This is consistent with the original observation by Geldart (Powder Technol. 7 (1973) 285). The distinct difference between beds of group A and B particles in the gently bubbling regime reported by Cody et al. (Powder Technol. 87 (1996) 211) is thus likely to be due to changes in the dynamics of the bubbles, as we observed no striking difference between these beds at gas velocities below minimum bubbling conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5123-5141
Number of pages19
JournalChemical Engineering Science
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


  • Contact stress
  • Fluidization
  • Granular materials
  • Hydrodynamics
  • Powders
  • Wall friction


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