Simulations of structures in packed columns and validation by x-ray tomography

Richard Caulkin, Xiaodong Jia, C. Xu, Michael Fairweather, Richard A Williams, E. H. Stitt, M. Nijemeisland, S. Aferka, M. Crine, A. Leonard, D. Toye, P. Marchot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Packing simulations of generic, nonspherical pellets were performed and compared with experimental data sets obtained using X-ray computerized tomography (CT). Two modified versions of what was previously a purely geometrical, digitally based packing algorithm were implemented. Both are aimed at incorporating the effects of particle interaction forces, one utilizing the distinct element method (DigiDEM) and the other an intermediate solution (collision-guided packing or DigiCGP). This article summarizes the models and the simulations performed using these two modified versions of DigiPac and, for model validation purposes, compares the predicted results with the corresponding X-ray tomographic scans of packed columns, in terms of bulk density, local packing density profiles, and pellet orientation distributions. For packed beds of relatively large and identical pellets, the simulation results indicate that particle-particle and particle-wall interactions cannot be ignored if realistic packing structures are to be obtained by simulation and even a simplistic treatment of these interactions can produce significantly more realistic packing structure than none at all.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)202-213
Number of pages12
JournalIndustrial and Engineering Chemistry Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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