Optimise Flow Distribution & Multiphase Flow Analysis

Analysis Type: flow simulation, including multiphase (CFD)
Objective: optimised flow distribution
Sector: water treatment

Client Benefits: Detailed insight into key flow features and problem areas enabled a fast-track to potential flow improvements and substantially reduced the make and test requirement.

Project Background: High doses of nitrates in groundwater are a recognised threat to human and animal health but few viable options exist for destroying the excess nitrate. Ionex Ltd is developing advanced ion exchange columns capable of highly effective removal and destruction of the nitrate, at acceptable cost.

A key feature of the columns is the header, which feeds water into the column. For optimum performance the header should provide uniform flow distribution across the column, but Ionex was aware that it might take many prototype iterations to achieve this.

Flow simulation using CFD offered a low cost alternative to a make and test approach. Ionex therefore engaged TriVista Engineering to perform an initial evaluation of the existing header. The objectives were to provide detailed insight into the header flow characteristics, and also to enable calibration of the analysis against test rig data.

Solution: Flow distribution measurements by test were to be performed with the header water exiting to air. It was therefore necessary to use a multiphase analysis to capture the interaction between the two fluids. Simulation of the header flow exiting to water (as in the real columns) was also provided for comparison.

The project found good agreement between test and CFD, and provided a comprehensive understanding of the flow patterns within the header and their impact on the achieved flow distribution. Armed with this insight and the means to rapidly evaluate design changes, Ionex anticipates successful optimisation of the header within a much reduced timescale and budget.

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