Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

A.G. Dixon, Advisor

Faculty Advisor or Committee Member

R. Datta, Department Head




Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is one of the fields that has strongly developed since the recent development of faster computers and numerical modeling. CFD is also finding its way into chemical engineering on several levels. We have used CFD for detailed modeling of heat and mass transfer in a packed bed. One of the major questions in CFD modeling is whether the computer model describes reality well enough to consider it a reasonable alternative to data collection. For this assumption a validation of CFD data against experimental data is desired. We have developed a low tube to particle, structured model for this purpose. Data was gathered both with an experimental setup and with an identical CFD model. These data sets were then compared to validate the CFD results. Several aspects in creating the model and acquiring the data were emphasized. The final result in the simulation is dependent on mesh density (model detail) and iteration parameters. The iteration parameters were kept constant so they would not influence the method of solution. The model detail was investigated and optimized, too much detail delays the simulation unnecessarily and too little detail will distort the solution. The amount of data produced by the CFD simulations is enormous and needs to be reduced for interpretation. The method of data reduction was largely influenced by the experimental method. Data from the CFD simulations was compared to experimental data through radial temperature profiles in the gas phase collected directly above the packed bed. It was found that the CFD data and the experimental data show quantitatively as well as qualitatively comparable temperature profiles, with the used model detail. With several systematic variances explained CFD has shown to be an ample modeling tool for heat and mass transfer in low tube to particle (N) packed beds.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Chemical Engineering

Project Type


Date Accepted





heat transfer, fixed bed, CFD, packed bed, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Computational fluid dynamics, Heat, Transmission