Two-dimensional numerical simulation of chimney fluidization in a granular medium using a combination of discrete element and lattice Boltzmann methods
We present here a numerical study dedicated to the fluidization of a submerged granular medium induced by a localized fluid injection. To this end, a two-dimensional (2D) model is used, coupling the lattice Boltzmann method (LBM) with the discrete element method (DEM) for a relevant description of fluid-grains interaction. An extensive investigation has been carried out to analyze the respective influences of the different parameters of our configuration, both geometrical (bed height, grain diameter, injection width) and physical (fluid viscosity, buoyancy). Compared to previous experimental works, the same qualitative features are recovered as regards the general phenomenology including transitory phase, stationary states, and hysteretic behavior. We also present quantitative findings about transient fluidization, for which several dimensionless quantities and scaling laws are proposed, and about the influence of the injection width, from localized to homogeneous fluidization. Finally, the impact of the present 2D geometry is discussed, by comparison to the real three-dimensional (3D) experiments, as well as the crucial role of the prevailing hydrodynamic regime within the expanding cavity, quantified through a cavity Reynolds number, that can presumably explain some substantial differences observed regarding upward expansion process of the fluidized zone when the fluid viscosity is changed.
Keywords: Fluidized beds