Multiscale Simulation and Experimental Study of Novel SiC Structured Packings

Xingang Li†‡, Guohua Gao†, Luhong Zhang*†, Hong Sui†‡, Hong Li†‡, Xin Gao†, Zhenming Yang§, Chong Tian§, and Jinsong Zhang§

† School of Chemical Engineering and Technology, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, People’s Republic of China

‡ National Engineering Research Centre of Distillation Technology, Tianjin 300072, People’s Republic of China

§ Institute of Metal Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), 72 Wenhua Road, Shenyang 110016, People’s Republic of China


Two SiC corrugated structured packings are developed: one being smooth plate and the other made of porous SiC foam. Accordingly, a macroscale three-dimensional (3D) geometric module of two corrugated sheets is introduced with a periodic boundary and a microscale computational geometry is gained from arrayed tetrakaidecahedrons. Single-phase modeling is carried out in the macro module to determine the dry pressure drops for the two types of packing. The results show that the porous SiC packing has a higher pressure drop than that of the smooth one. Two-phase flow for smooth packing is simulated with a VOF-like model provided by CFX in the macroscale geometry. It is found that openings in corrugated plates can improve the film distribution and mass-transfer efficiency. Microsimulation of two-phase flow in the porous SiC packing is performed, and the results prove that liquid can go inside the SiC foam and extend along the foam matrix with a velocity. Therefore, the porous foam can provide a larger effective gas–liquid interfacial area for mass transfer, which explains its larger theoretical plate number, compared to the smooth packing. Performance parameters including pressure drop and liquid holdup have been measured to validate the simulation method, while the distillation experiments have been carried out to study the mass-transfer efficiency of the novel SiC packings.