Prediction of heat and mass transfer in canister filters
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Prediction of heat and mass transfer in canister filters. Tony Smith S & C Thermofluids Limited PHOENICS User Conference Melbourne 2004. Co-authors - Martin Smith, Dstl, Porton Down Kate Taylor, S & C Thermofluids. Overview. Introduction to S & C Thermofluids Canister filters

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Prediction of heat and mass transfer in canister filters

Prediction of heat and mass transfer in canister filters

Tony Smith

S & C Thermofluids Limited

PHOENICS User Conference

Melbourne 2004

Co-authors -

Martin Smith, Dstl, Porton Down

Kate Taylor, S & C Thermofluids


  • Introduction to S & C Thermofluids

  • Canister filters

  • Porous media modelling

  • Voidage distribution

  • Geometry

  • Pressure drop calculation

  • Adsorption

  • Results

  • Conclusion and recommendations

S c thermofluids
S & C Thermofluids

  • Formed in 1987

  • Research into fluid (gas/liquid) flow and heat transfer

  • Based in BATH, U.K.

S c thermofluids1
S & C Thermofluids

Use combination of analysis (mainly CFD) and experimental validation and demonstration

RR Gnome engine test rig

CFD prediction of Gnome exhaust

Experimental facilities
Experimental facilities

  • RR Gnome turbojet and turboshaft engines

  • Universal jet flow rig

  • Water tunnel

  • JPX turbojet

  • Ejector performance test rig

  • Catalyst research engines

Cfd modelling
CFD modelling

  • External aerodynamics

  • Propulsion system (nozzle flows)

  • Exhaust plume mixing

  • Exhaust reactions

  • Interactions

  • Catalytic converters

  • Filters

Drivers for porous media modelling
Drivers for porous media modelling

  • Pressure drop

  • Flow distribution

  • Performance

    • Adsorption

    • Break-through

    • Conversion (reactions)

    • Minimise use of materials

Modelling approach
Modelling approach

Porous media such as catalytic converters and packed bed filters often contain very high surface areas which are difficult to represent in detail whilst modelling the bulk flowfield

Typical filter monolith

Modelling philosophy
Modelling philosophy

  • Continuum approach

    • macroscopic model of complete system

  • Single channel

    • detailed model of one flow path

Continuum methodology
Continuum methodology

  • Solving gas and solid (adsorbed) species separately but within the same computational space with mass transfer

  • Gas and solid energy can also solved separately with heat transfer

  • This methodology has been described in earlier papers relating to filter performance prediction

Canister geometry

Impregnated granular

activated carbon

Glass Fibre


Air Flow

Canister geometry

Voidage distribution in cylindrical filter beds

  • Radial voidage distribution in ‘snowstorm’ packed filter beds is a function of the ratio: particle size/bed diameter

  • Affects the velocity distribution within the filter bed

  • Measurements made of voidage distribution for range of particle sizes

  • Fitted to modified ‘Mueller’ model

Voidage distribution
Voidage distribution

e = eb + (1- eb)e-brJo(ar*)


  • Canister key dimensions converted to FEMGEN geometry input

  • Mesh generated in FEMGEN

  • Output as PHOENICS 2D, axisymmetric BFC mesh using Phirefly

  • PHOENICS Q1 file written out

Voidage distribution canister
Voidage distribution - canister

  • Grid fixed by geometry

  • Voidage calculated locally according to modified Mueller equation

  • Voidage set in ground coding

Pressure drop
Pressure drop

  • Local voidage distribution coupled to Ergun-Orning equation for pressure loss through bed:

    Dp/L = 5 So2(1-e)2mU/e3 + 0.29 So(1-e)rU2/e3 | | viscous loss turbulent loss

  • This pressure drop is applied to both axial and radial velocities

  • Earlier work using this equation have given rise to good agreement with experimental data for pressure drop.

Pressure drop1
Pressure drop

Flowrate 30l/min

Predicted pressure drop 275Pa

Measured pressure drop 110Pa

Filter paper section pressure drop 40Pa

Adsorption model
Adsorption model

  • Transient model to predict ‘breakthrough’

  • Steady state flowfield used as initial conditions

  • Adsorption rate source term:

    -¶C/¶t = 1/e So k (C - Ci)

  • Sh = 1.15 (Rep/e)0.5 Sc0.33 for Rep >1

  • Sh = k dp/D

Adsorption model1
Adsorption model

  • Rate of uptake in adsorbent: ¶m/¶t = e/(1-e) (-¶C/¶t)/rz

  • Maximum uptake from isotherm equation

  • Cumulative uptake is calculated :

    S ¶m/¶t. /¶t

  • Uptake value stored

  • Interface concentration Ci set to be in local equilibrium with uptake value


  • A CFD model of a canister filter has been produced

  • The model provides predictions of pressure drop, flow distribution and adsorption in transient conditions

  • The model uses PHOENICS as the main solver with additional ground coding for voidage distribution, pressure drop and adsorption

Conclusions 2
Conclusions (2)

  • FEMGEN is used to create the BFC grid for use in PHOENICS

  • Pressure drop predictions show some discrepancy with measurement – unlike earlier packed bed filter work

  • Early predictions of contaminant adsorption look realistic but require validation


  • Investigate pressure drop prediction discrepancies

  • Improve adsorption model

  • Include heat of adsorption

  • Provide axial variations of voidage

  • Modify aspects of canister model (eg gap at rear wall)

  • Provide full transient input of contaminant concentration as well as flowrate

  • Provide validation


  • Martin Smith, Dstl, Porton Down

  • Kate Taylor, S & C Thermofluids