(498h) Numerical Investigation of Enhanced Dehumidification Processes By Using Dilectrophoresis Principles in Moist Airflows | AIChE

(498h) Numerical Investigation of Enhanced Dehumidification Processes By Using Dilectrophoresis Principles in Moist Airflows


Young, D. - Presenter, Auburn University
Cremaschi, S., Auburn University
Yel Mahi, M., Auburn Univeristy
Cremaschi, L., Auburn University
Sholi, Y., Auburn University
Dispersed particle-laden flows are encountered in many building and industrial applications, such as flow in a fluidized bed, hydrocarbon transportation in pipelines, and the fouling of air-cooled heat exchangers (Kuruneru et al., 2016; Ray et al., 2019; Wang et al., 2019). Computational fluid dynamic (CFD) models have been developed in recent years to depict particle-fluid and particle-particle interactions in laminar or turbulent flows with increasing accuracy and stability.

One particular particle-laden system of interest for moisture control is electrically-enhanced condensation in air and water droplet flows. Electrically-enhanced condensation consists of the use of highly charged water droplets injected in the moist air. The droplets become electric seeds that attract polar water vapor molecules to their surfaces and promote condensation. The nucleation and growth of the charged droplets deplete the vapor phase near a droplet, which is compensated for by the dielectrophoresis flow and diffusion. Dielectrophoresis flow involves surrounding vapor at a distance of about 10 to 100 nm for droplets charged by an electrospray compared to ~2 nm for a single electron charge in a droplet. As the vapor molecules collapse on the surface of the droplets, their initial electrical charge decreases with time due to the neutralization of the ions. While the physics of this phenomena is well known, engineering models for predicting the condensation rates are not available.

This work computationally investigates dehumidification of moist airflow in a converging rectangular duct. The objective is to develop an engineering model that predicts water vapor condensation by employing dielectrophoresis principles. We construct a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) model of the duct with electrically-enhanced condensation. The model is implemented in the open-source software OpenFOAM. We utilize the Multi-Phase Particle-In-Cell (MP-PIC) method coupled with a Population Balance Equation (PBE) approach to simulate the particle-laden system. This methodology is an Eulerian-Lagrangian approach used to simulate the droplets' behavior in the humid air. The MP-PIC approach (Andrews and O'Rourke, 1996) mitigates the computational cost by parceling several fundamental particles with similar properties (such as types, sizes, and temperature) into one computational particle. Thus, the billions of particles can be substituted by millions of computational particles without significant loss of information. The PBE was considered with the Lagrangian frame to combine the particle distribution function used in MP-PIC (Kim et al., 2020). This approach preserves mass and energy conservation between the phases in the Eulerian and Lagrangian structures. The PBE in this procedure was directly linked to the discrete parcels, making the simulation of the particle distribution computationally efficient and robust.

The MP-PIC-PBE approach used in the present work was applied to the dehumidification of air. Water droplets were injected in the air stream and forced to grow according to experimentally derived correlation. The experiments were conducted on a converging duct with the same geometry and boundary conditions used to build the CFD model. This approach enabled us to approximate the effect of dielectrophoresis phenomena on the droplet and air interface.

This presentation will discuss the details of the new CFD model built for the duct, the implementation of the model in OpenFOAM CFD programming language, and the experimental validation of the newly developed model. The results revealed a moderate yet measurable increase in droplet diameter due to water vapor condensation at the vapor-liquid interface of the electrically charged droplets' surface. The seed water droplet particles grew in size by capturing the water vapor in the surrounding air. The OpenFOAM model predicted reductions of humidity in the air from 5 to 10 percent.


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