This paper presents an in-depth numerical analysis on the hydrodynamics of a bubble column. As in previous works on the subject, the focus here is on three important parameters characterizing the flow: interfacial forces, turbulence and inlet superficial Gas Velocity (UG). The bubble size distribution is taken into account by the use of the Quadrature Method of Moments (QMOM) model in a two-phase Euler-Euler approach using the open-source Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) code OpenFOAM (Open Field Operation and Manipulation). The interfacial forces accounted for in all the simulations presented here are drag, lift and virtual mass. For the turbulence analysis in the water phase, three versions of the Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) k-ε
turbulence model are examined: namely, the standard, modified and mixture variants. The lift force proves to be of major importance for a trustworthy prediction of the gas volume fraction profiles for all the (superficial) gas velocities tested. Concerning the turbulence, the mixture k-ε
model is seen to provide higher values of the turbulent kinetic energy dissipation rate in comparison to the other models, and this clearly affects the prediction of the gas volume fraction in the bulk region, and the bubble-size distribution. In general, the modified k-ε
model proves to be a good compromise between modeling simplicity and accuracy in the study of bubble columns of the kind undertaken here.
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