Currently, scientists model the circulation of gas bubbles and the induced fluid flow in formulations which comprise of the raw materials for numerous products like cosmetics using computer simulations.
However, this research team from the Institute of Chemical Process Engineering at the University say their new approach of using 'particle' rather than the aforementioned simulation process will push beyond 'limited predictions' when varying the conditions of the fluid flow process in formulations.
More efficient process for the industry
“As gas bubbles rise in a liquid, the chemical processes take place at their outer layers where different substances are in contact. About 90 per cent of all products of the chemical industry are generated in this way,” one of the scientists explains.
However the team, led by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ulrich Nieken, says his scientists will be concentrating their efforts on the boundary layers of the gas bubbles, since this is where the actual chemical reactions take place.
In this instance the professor says it will now be possible to test relevant factors such as column size, quantities of liquid, or the different combinations of substances.
He also mentions that the process of clarifying important details like 'Under what conditions do the desired reactions occur?', 'What quantity of the final product can be produced?', and 'How can these processes be accelerated to optimize throughput?' will be a lot more efficient too.
To achieve this, Nieken adds that his researchers have developed complex numerical calculation schemes for which they utilize high performance computer clusters or graphics cards. Methods of which, are reported to be the cutting edge in simulations of the described processes.
The current research results were published in July as part of a special issue of the journal “Chemie Ingenieur Technik" on bubble columns.