An investigation of sphere packed shell-side columns using a digital packing algorithm

Richard Caulkin, A. Ahmad, Michael Fairweather, Xiaodong Jia, Richard A Williams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


This paper on the fundamental structural properties of shell-side packed columns presents an investigative study using a novel packing algorithm with the aim of validation against experimental results. The novel contribution in the predictive approach employed is the digitalisation of particles, container and packing space to generate complex life-like stochastic packing structures of particulate systems at relatively high speed (when compared to traditional vector-based approaches) which are comparable with experimentally packed beds without need for further conversion of numerical data. A variety of packed column simulations, comprising more complex beds than often seen in the literature, namely shell-side beds with increasing complexity of internal structure and packed with spherical particles, have been undertaken and the resulting averaged numerical data compared like-for-like with experimental results with key trends reproduced. The overall aim of this work is to demonstrate the usefulness of the technique and associated computer code as an engineering aide for research, design and optimisation of the performance of packed bed systems of any geometric complexity in terms of packing structure, as well as to highlight possible areas for further development of the code.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1715-1724
Number of pages10
JournalComputers and Chemical Engineering
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2007


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