Document Type


Date of Award

Spring 5-31-2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Mechanical Engineering - (Ph.D.)


Mechanical and Industrial Engineering

First Advisor

Chao Zhu

Second Advisor

Pushpendra Singh

Third Advisor

Teh C. Ho

Fourth Advisor

Anthony D. Rosato

Fifth Advisor

Ian Sanford Fischer


The riser reactors are widely used in a variety of industrial applications such as polymerization, coal combustion and petroleum refinery because of the strong mixing of gas and solids that yields high heat and mass transfer rates, and reaction rates. In a Fluid Catalytic Cracking (FCC) process, the performance of riser reactor is strongly dependent on the interaction between the fluid and catalysts, since the reaction takes place on the active surface of the catalysts. This is why, the local coupling between hydrodynamics and reaction kinetics is critical to the development of riser reaction models. The local gas-solids flow structure in riser reactors is highly heterogeneous both in axial and radial direction with back-mixing of catalyst. The radial non-uniform gas-solid flow structure is presented as core-annulus regime, with up-flow of dilute suspension of fresh catalyst and hydrocarbon vapor in the core regime, which is surrounded by dense down-flow of deactivated catalyst in the wall regime. As a result, the reaction characteristics in core and wall regions are strikingly different. The performance of the riser reactor is also strongly dependent on the vaporization and reaction characteristics in the feed injection regime of the riser reactors. From the modeling point of view, to predict the reaction characteristics in riser reactors, there is a need to develop hydrodynamics model, which can predicts both axial and radial nonuniform distribution of hydrocarbon vapor and catalyst and back-mixing of catalyst. There is also need for reasonable description of mechanistic coupling between nonuniform flow hydrodynamics and the cracking kinetics.

This dissertation is aimed to develop the mechanistic model for nonuniform hydrodynamics and catalytic reactions in a FCC riser reactor. A mechanistic model for multiphase flow interactions, vaporization of droplets and reactions in the feed injection regime is developed for to decide proper input boundary conditions for FCC riser reaction models. The dissertation is divided into the three major parts: 1) development of governing mechanisms and modeling of the axial and radial nonuniform distribution of the gas-solids transport properties in riser reactors 2) development of mechanistic model that gives a quantitative understanding of the interplay of three phase flow hydrodynamics, heat/mass transfer, and cracking reactions in the feed injection regime of a riser reactor 3) modeling of nonuniform hydrodynamics coupled reaction kinetics in the core and wall regime of the riser reactors.

For the modeling of the axial nonuniform distribution of gas-solids transport properties, a new controlling mechanism in terms of impact of pressure gradient along the riser on the particles transport is introduced. A correlation for inter-particle collision force is proposed which can be used for any operation conditions of riser, riser geometry and particle types. For simultaneous modeling of axial and radial nonuniform distribution of the gas-solids phase transport properties, a continuous modeling approach is used. In this dissertation, governing mechanisms for radial nonuniform distribution of gas-solids phase is proposed based on which a mechanistic model for radial nonuniform distribution of the gas and solid phase transport properties is proposed. With the proposed model for radial nonuniform phase distribution, the continuous model can successfully predicts both axial and radial nonuniform distribution of phase transport properties.

As the performance of the riser reactor is strongly influence by the vaporization and reactions in the feed injection regime, in this dissertation, a detailed mechanistic model for the multiphase flow hydrodynamics, vaporization and reaction characteristics in feed injection regime is established. To simulate the conditions of industrial riser reactor, the four nozzle spray jets were used, while overlapping of the spray jets is also considered.

Finally, in this dissertation, a modeling concept for the reactions in the core and wall regime of the riser reactor is explored. The proposed modeling concept takes into the account very important missed out physics such as, non-thermal equilibrium between the hydrocarbon vapor and the feed, back mixing and recirculation of the deactivated catalyst, activity of catalyst in core and wall regime, and coupling between the flow hydrodynamics and reaction kinetics.



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