Pressure Drop in a Pebble Bed Reactor



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Pressure drops over a packed bed of pebble bed reactor type are investigated. Measurement of porosity and pressure drop over the bed were carried out in a cylindrical packed bed facility. Air and water were used for working fluids. There are several parameters of the pressure drop in packed beds. One of the most important factors is wall effect. The inhomogeneous porosity distribution in the bed and the additional wetted surface introduced by the wall cause the variation of pressure drop. The importance of the wall effects and porosity can be explained by using different bed-to-particle diameter ratios. Four different bed-to-particle ratios were used in these experiments (D/dp = 19, 9.5, 6.33 and 3.65). A comparison is made between the predictions by a number of empirical correlations including the Ergun equation (1952) and KTA (by the Nuclear Safety Commission of Germany) (1981) in the literature. Analysis of the data indicated the importance of the bed-to-particle size ratios on the pressure drop. The comparison between the present and the existing correlations showed that the pressure drop of large bed-to-particle diameter ratios (D/dp = 19, 9.5and 6.33) matched very well with the original KTA correlation. However the published correlations cannot be expected to predict accurate pressure drop for certain conditions, especially for pebble bed with D/dp (bed-to-particle diameter ratio) </= 5. An improved correlation was obtained for a small bed-to-particle diameter ratio by fitting the coefficients of that equation to experimental database.