Faculty Advisor

Dixon, Anthony G.


Steam methane reforming is a widely-used process to convert methane into syngas. A conventional steam reformer consists of fixed-bed reactor tubes filled with supported nickel catalyst particles. This project proposed recommendations for better catalyst designs. Computational fluid dynamics was used to compare the effect of different multi-holed cylindrical catalyst geometries on heat transfer, pressure drop, and methane conversion under typical reforming conditions. The geometries modeled were 1-hole, 3-hole, 4-hole, 4-hole with vertical grooves, and 6-hole cylinders. It was concluded that the 4-hole with grooves offered a uniform particle temperature distribution, high reaction rate, and had a significantly larger void fraction, allowing a higher mass flow rate for a set pressure drop.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Date Accepted

April 2010


Chemical Engineering

Project Type

Major Qualifying Project



Advisor Department

Chemical Engineering

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