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Flow Orientation as a parameter for process intensification in mesoscale biphasic flow
Chemical Engineering and Processing: Process Intensification  (IF4.237),  Pub Date : 2021-11-23, DOI: 10.1016/j.cep.2021.108728
A. Koshy, S. Ray, G. Das

Interphase mass transfer and associated chemical reactions in biphasic liquid flow can be enhanced by tuning the phase distribution in the flow reactor. In reduced dimensions, a balance between surface, inertial and viscous forces results in either segmented flow where dispersed phase is distributed as plugs / droplets in the carrier phase, or thread flow where dispersed phase flows as a continuous thread through an annular film of the carrier phase. Our extensive experiments in up, down and horizontal co-flows of a liquid-liquid mixture through a glass conduit of 2.38 mm diameter reveal a subtle role of gravity in the mesodomain. We note plug generation by gravity assisted squeezing mechanism in upflow and observe squeezing, dripping and jetting mechanisms in the same device by a mere change in conduit orientation. While upflow promotes monodispersed plug generation, downflow is more conductive for thread flow and droplets rather than plugs are formed in horizontal flow. An in-depth investigation of plug generation cycle over a wide range of flow velocities suggests polydispersity to increase as thread pinch off occurs further from the T-entry. The increase in dispersed phase hold-up with flow rate ratio is steeper for segmented flow than thread flow.