Euler–Lagrange Simulations of Microstructured Bubble Columns Using a Novel Cutting Model

Rahul Subburaj, Yali Tang (Corresponding author), Niels G. Deen

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In the concept of a microstructured bubble column reactor, meshes coated with catalyst can cut the bubbles, which in turn results in high interfacial area and enhanced interface hydrodynamics. In previous work, we developed a closure model for the fate of bubbles interacting with a wire mesh based on the outcomes of energy balance analysis. In this paper, the model is validated using Euler–Lagrange simulations against two experimental cases of microstructured bubble columns. Before validation of the model, the definition of the deceleration thickness, as used in the calculation of the virtual mass term, is refined to introduce the effects of liquid viscosity and wire thickness. Proceeding with the validation, the inclusion of our cutting closure model results in an excellent match of the bubble size reduction by the wire mesh with the experimental data. Consequently, the simulations produce a more accurate prediction of the reactor performance for the gaseous reaction in view of the pH and gas holdup profiles. The effect of liquid viscosity on the bubble size reduction by the wire mesh is replicated accurately as well. Noticeably, the significance of bubble coalescence and breakup in bubble dynamics overperforms the role of bubble cutting at high superficial gas velocities; thus, further improvement is needed there. Finally, based on the validated cutting model, we share some perspectives on the design of wire meshes to increase the bubble interfacial area.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15656-15665
Number of pages10
JournalIndustrial and Engineering Chemistry Research
Issue number38
Publication statusPublished - 27 Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

This work was supported by The Netherlands Center for Multiscale Catalytic Energy Conversion, an NWO gravitation program funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science of the government of The Netherlands. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement no. 801359.


  • Bubbles
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)
  • OpenFOAM
  • Bubble cutting
  • Microstructured bubble column


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