Subgrid models for heat transfer in multiphase flows with immersed geometry
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Multiphase flows are ubiquitous across engineering disciplines: water-sediment river flows in civil engineering, oil-water-sand transportation flows in petroleum engineering; and sorbent-flue gas reactor flows in chemical engineering. These multiphase flows can include a combination of momentum, heat, and mass transfer. Studying and understanding the behavior of multiphase, multiphysics flow configurations can be crucial for safe and efficient engineering design. In this work, a framework for the development and validation, verification and uncertainty quantification (VVUQ) of subgrid models for heat transfer in multiphase flows is presented. The framework is developed for a carbon capture reactor; however, the concepts and methods described in this dissertation can be generalized and applied broadly to multiphase/multiphysics problems. When combined with VVUQ methods, these tools can provide accurate results at many length scales, enabling large upscaling problems to be simulated accurately and with calculable errors. The system of interest is a post-combustion solid-sorbent carbon capture reactor featuring a solid-sorbent bed that is fluidized with post-combustion flue gas. As the flue gas passes through the bed, the carbon dioxide is exothermically adsorbed onto the sorbent particle’s surface, and the clean gas is passed onto further processes. To prevent overheating and degradation of the sorbent material, cooling cylinders are immersed in the flow to regulate temperatures. Simulating a full-scale, gas-particle reactor using traditional methods is computationally intractable due to the long time scale and variations in length scales: reactor, O(10 m); cylinders, O(1 cm); and sorbent particles, O(100 um). This research developed an efficient subgrid method for simulating such a system. A constitutive model was derived to predict the effective suspension-cylinder Nusselt number based on the local flow and material properties and the cylinder geometry, analogous to single-phase Nusselt number correlations. This model was implemented in an open source computational fluid dynamics code, MFIX, and has undergone VVUQ. Verification and validation showed great agreement with comparable highly-resolved simulations, achieving speedups of up to 10,000 times faster. Our model is currently being used to simulate a 1 MW, solid-sorbent carbon capture unit and is outperforming previous methods in both speed and physically accuracy.
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