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Relationship between bed heterogeneity, chord length distribution, and longitudinal dispersion in particulate beds

Svidrytski, Artur, Hlushkou, Dzmitry, Tallarek, Ulrich
Journal of chromatography 2019 v.1600 pp. 167-173
Peclet number, algorithms, chromatography, dispersibility, hydrodynamic dispersion, microstructure, particle size distribution, porosity, standard deviation, tracer techniques
We analyse a relationship between the bulk microstructure of randomly packed beds, which we quantify through chord length distribution (CLD) analysis of the interparticle void space, and the associated flow heterogeneity, as expressed by the longitudinal dispersion coefficient at a Péclet number of Pe = 10. A random collection of physically reconstructed packings is complemented with a systematic set of computer-generated packings of monosized spheres, for which the packing-generation algorithm has been carefully adjusted to realize a monotonic variation of the bed porosity and microstructural heterogeneity. The most relevant difference in the morphology between these computer-generated and the physically reconstructed packings are structural defects present in the real packings, such as particle oligomers and larger voids as well as contaminations and particle debris. These defects influence the pore space morphology and introduce additional structural heterogeneity. Hydrodynamic dispersion coefficients for all packings are derived by implementing the lattice-Boltzmann method to simulate fluid flow and a random-walk particle tracking technique to record the transport of passive, point-like tracers in the flow fields. We propose a morphological descriptor, σ/μ, based on statistical parameters of a CLD (standard deviation σ and mean chord length μ) that can be used to predict the dispersion coefficient in packed beds, independent from the underlying particle size distribution, packing-generation protocol, bed porosity, and the occurrence of structural defects.