CFD simulations of turbulent dust dispersion in the 20 L vessel using OpenFOAM

Alain Islas, Andrés Rodróguez Fernández, Covadonga Betegón, Emilio Martínez-Pañeda, Adrián Pandal

Dust explosions are among the most hazardous accidents affecting industrial facilities processing particulate solids. Describing the severity parameters of dust clouds is critical to the safety management and risk assessment of dust explosions. These parameters are determined experimentally in a 20L spherical vessel, following the ASTM E1226 or UNE 14034 standards. Since their reproducibility depends on the levels of turbulence associated with the dust cloud, a computational model of the multi-phase (gas-solid) flow is used to simulate the dispersion process with the open-source CFD code OpenFOAM. The model is successfully validated against experimental measurements from the literature and numerical results of a commercial CFD code. In addition, this study considers the impact of particle size on the turbulence of the carrier phase, suggesting that particles attenuate its turbulence intensity. Moreover, the model predicts well the formation of a two-vortex flow pattern, which has a negative impact on the distribution of the particle-laden flows with d<=100 um, as most of the particles concentrate at the near-wall region. Contrarily, an improved homogeneity of dust cloud is observed for a case fed with larger particles (d=200 um), as the increased inertia of these particles allows them to enter into the re-circulation regions.

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