Title page for ETD etd-05172010-091509

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Chodak, Jillian
URN etd-05172010-091509
Title Pyrolysis and Hydrodynamics of Fluidized Bed Media
Degree Master of Science
Department Mechanical Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Lattimer, Brian Y. Committee Chair
Battaglia, Francine Committee Member
Vandsburger, Uri Committee Member
  • particle characterization
  • Pyrolysis
  • partial bed loading
  • binary mixtures
  • lab-scale fluidized bed
  • reaction energetics
  • reaction kinetics
  • heat of decomposition
Date of Defense 2010-05-05
Availability unrestricted
Interest in non-traditional fuel sources, carbon dioxide sequestration, and cleaner combustion has brought attention on gasification to supplement fossil fueled energy, particularly by a fluidized bed. Developing tools and methods to predict operation and performance of gasifiers will lead to more efficient gasifier designs. This research investigates bed fluidization and particle decomposition for fluidized materials.

Experimental methods were developed to model gravimetric and energetic response of thermally decomposing materials. Gravimetric, heat flow, and specific heat data were obtained from a simultaneous thermogravimetric analyzer (DSC/TGA). A method was developed to combine data in an energy balance and determine an optimized heat of decomposition value. This method was effective for modeling simple reactions but not for complex decomposition.

Advanced method was developed to model mass loss using kinetic reactions. Kinetic models were expanded to multiple reactions, and an approach was developed to identify suitable multiple reaction mechanisms. A refinement method for improving the fit of kinetic parameters was developed. Multiple reactions were combined with the energy balance, and heats of decomposition determined for each reaction. From this research, this methodology can be extended to describe more complex thermal decomposition.

Effects of particle density and diameter on the minimum fluidization velocity were investigated, and results compared to empirical models. Effects of bed mass on pressure drop through fluidized beds were studied. A method was developed to predict hydrodynamic response of binary beds from the response of each particle type and mass. Resulting pressure drops of binary mixtures resembled behavior superposition for individual particles.

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