The heat transport management in catalytic reactors is crucial for the overall reactor performance. For small-scale dynamically-operated reactors, open-cell foams have shown advantageous heat transport characteristics over conventional pellet catalyst carriers. To design efficient and safe foam reactors as well as to deploy reliable engineering models, a thorough understanding of the three heat transport mechanisms, i.e., conduction, convection, and thermal radiation, is needed. Whereas conduction and convection have been studied extensively, the contribution of thermal radiation to the overall heat transport in open-cell foam reactors requires further investigation. In this study, we simulated a conjugate heat transfer case of a µCT based foam reactor using OpenFOAM and verified the model against a commercial computational fluid dynamics (CFD) code (STAR-CCM+). We further explicitly quantified the deviation made when radiation is not considered. We studied the effect of the solid thermal conductivity, the superficial velocity and surface emissivities in ranges that are relevant for heterogeneous catalysis applications (solid thermal conductivities 1–200 W m−1
; superficial velocities 0.1–0.5 m s−1
; surface emissivities 0.1–1). Moreover, the temperature levels correspond to a range of exo- and endothermal reactions, such as CO2
methanation, dry reforming of methane, and methane steam reforming. We found a significant influence of radiation on heat flows (deviations up to 24%) and temperature increases (deviations up to 400 K) for elevated temperature levels, low superficial velocities, low solid thermal conductivities and high surface emissivities.
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