Assessment of flow pattern and temperature profiles by residence time distribution in typical structured packed beds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The flow and temperature fields in packed beds are rather complex but are of great importance since they will influence macroscopic parameters and the overall performance of the packed bed system. Regions with either too high or too low velocity are not preferred since they will decrease the heat and mass transfer characteristics of packed beds. The residence time distribution (RTD) is a way to assess the characteristics of the flow maldistribution, where a narrower distribution is closer to the ideal plug flow with less dispersion. In this article, the RTD in three typical structured packed beds, namely, the simple cubic (SC) packing, the body-centered cubic (BCC) packing and the face-centered cubic (FCC) packing, are studied by using ANSYS FLUENT. Results show that, firstly, the RTD curve can be used to diagnose the flow pattern in packed beds where the skewed peak indicates the channeling effect and a long tail relates to recirculation. It is revealed secondly that, FCC packing has the narrowest RTD curve in the studied structures, BCC packing comes second and SC packing has the flattest RTD curve, which demonstrates that the flow uniformity in FCC packing is the best. For the same packing form, the flow is less maldistributed at higher velocity. Finally, it is shown that the packing form with less dispersion, which behaves more like the ideal plug flow, has a more uniform distribution of the particle-to-fluid heat transfer coefficient near the particle surface.


External organisations
  • Xi'an Jiaotong University
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Fluid Mechanics and Acoustics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)559-578
Number of pages20
JournalNumerical Heat Transfer; Part A: Applications
Issue number6
Early online date2020 Jan 22
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication categoryResearch