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International Journal of Chemical Engineering
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 569463, 15 pages
Research Article

Effect of Contaminants on the Gas Holdup and Mixing in Internal Airlift Reactors Equipped with Microbubble Generator

Multiphase Mixing and Separations Research Laboratory, Department of Process Engineering and Applied Sciences, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada B3J 2X4

Received 6 June 2012; Accepted 27 August 2012

Academic Editor: Diego Gómez-Díaz

Copyright © 2012 Surya K. Pallapothu and Adel M. Al Taweel. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The impact of contaminants on the gas holdup and mixing characteristics encountered in internal airlift reactors was investigated using a 200 L pilot scale unit equipped with a two-phase transonic sparger capable of generating microbubbles. Small dosages of a cationic surfactant (0–50 ppm of sodium dodecyl sulfonate (SDS)) were used to simulate the coalescence-retarding effect encountered in most industrial streams and resulted in the formation of bubbles that varied in size between 280 and 1,900 μm. Gas holdups as high as 0.14 were achieved in the riser under homogeneous flow regime when slowly coalescent systems were aerated at the relatively low superficial velocity of 0.02 ms−1, whereas liquid circulation velocities as high as 1.3 ms−1 were achieved in conjunction with rapidly coalescent systems at the same superficial velocity. This excellent hydrodynamic performance represents a 5-fold improvement in the riser gas holdup and up to 8-fold enhancement in the liquid circulation velocity and is expected to yield good mixing and mass transfer performance at low energy dissipation rates.