Experimental and numerical analysis on the hydrodynamic behaviors of permeable microbial granules
The microbial granules are found to be porous and permeable, which leads to a different drag force coefficient from the rigid sphere granules. Discrete element method (DEM) was employed to establish geometric models of porous microbial granules for the first time in this study. And computational fluid dynamics (CFD) was applied to simulate the effects of porosity and Reynolds number on the fluid flow, shear stress, pressure and drag force based on the established geometric models. The results showed that both the Reynolds number and the porosity of microbial granules significantly affect the fluid velocity distribution inside the granules. The porosity shows less effect on maximum shear stress than Reynolds number. It s well known that drag force consists form drag and skin drag. The ratio of form drag to drag force increased, while the skin drag force ratio decreased with the increasing Reynolds number. The porosity will enhance the skin drag and weaken the form drag at the same Reynolds number. A drag force coefficient equation was established based on the simulated results in order for engineering application. The correctness of the equation was confirmed by comparing with experimental results. The results from this study may provide valuable information for operation and designing of a granule-based bioreactor in wastewater treatment.
Keywords: Microbial granule, Drag force coefficient, Discrete element method, Computational fluid dynamics, Porosity, Reynolds number,