Hydrodynamic Instability Analysis of the Axial Flow Pump in an Ethylene Polymerization Loop Reactor
2022, 24 (1):
The hydrodynamic instability of the axial flow pump in a loop reactor has long been a troubling issue to be solved in the polyethylene industry due to the lack of a better mechanismic understanding. Generally, the instability of an axial flow pump can be reflected by the fluctuation of the pump head. In this study, the transient computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation is adopted to study the hydrodynamic instability of the axial flow pump used in an ethylene polymerization loop reactor. The results show that the pump head under single liquid phase nearly remains constant while the pump head under slurry phase fluctuates due to the variation of solid volume fraction distribution in the pump. Besides, under the combined effect of the maximum solid volume fraction difference in the pump and the turbulence intensity of the liquid phase, the fluctuation of the pump head under slurry phase increases when the solid volume fraction in the loop reactor increases from 0.10 to 0.29, while the fluctuation decreases, with the solid volume fraction increasing from 0.29 to 0.35. Furthermore, there is a negative correlation between the pump head and the solid volume fraction in the pump; with the increase of solid volume fraction in the loop reactor, the correlation coefficient increases as well. Moreover, a ‘spiral particulate band’ phenomenon is formed in the ascending leg caused by three mechanisms, viz.: the segregation of particles in all bends, the dispersion of particles by the secondary flow in the ascending leg, and the rotational movement of particles in the pump.