Digital predictions of complex cylinder packed columns

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


A digital computational approach has been developed to simulate realistic structures of packed beds. The underlying principle of the method is digitisation of the particles and packing space, enabling the generation of realistic structures. Previous publications [Caulkin, R., Fairweather, M., Jia, X., Gopinathan, N., & Williams, R.A. (2006). An investigation of packed columns using a digital packing algorithm. Computers & Chemical Engineering, 30, 1178–1188; Caulkin, R., Ahmad, A., Fairweather, M., Jia, X., & Williams, R. A. (2007). An investigation of sphere packed shell-side columns using a digital packing algorithm. Computers & Chemical Engineering, 31, 1715–1724] have demonstrated the ability of the code in predicting the packing of spheres. For cylindrical particles, however, the original, random walk-based code proved less effective at predicting bed structure. In response to this, the algorithm has been modified to make use of collisions to guide particle movement in a way which does not sacrifice the advantage of simulation speed. Results of both the original and modified code are presented, with bulk and local voidage values compared with data derived by experimental methods. The results demonstrate that collisions and their impact on packing structure cannot be disregarded if realistic packing structures are to be obtained.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-21
Number of pages12
JournalComputers and Chemical Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2009


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