Project No: FE0007520
Performer: Tuskegee University

Robert Romanosky
Crosscutting Research Technology 
National Energy Technology Laboratory
3610 Collins Ferry Road
P.O. Box 880
Morgantown, WV 26507-0880

Steven Seachman
Project Manager
National Energy Technology Laboratory
3610 Collins Ferry Road
P.O. Box 880
Morgantown, WV 26507-0880

Kyung Kwon
Principal Investigator
Tuskegee University
Chemical Engineering Department
Tuskegee, AL 36088

Award Date:  10/01/2011
Project Date:  09/30/2014

DOE Share: $200,000.00
Performer Share: $0.00
Total Award Value: $200,000.00

Performer website: Tuskegee University -

Crosscutting Research - University Training and Research

Study of Particle Rotation Effect in Gas-Solid Flows Using Direct Numerical Simulation with a Lattice Boltzmann Method

Project Description

The project team will use the DNS method to investigate the drag force between solid particles and gas phases. The advanced Lattice Boltzmann Method (LBM) will be used to carry out simulations for microscopic model systems in which the particle surface is directly resolved. The immersed boundary (IB) technique will be included in the LBM to accurately represent particle shapes in the simulation, allowing for straightforward accounting of poly-dispersed and non-spherical particles. Effects of particle rotation and of hydrodynamic interactions and direct contacts between particles will be included in the simulation. Particle motion and forces will be recorded and compared to experimental results obtained using high-speed particle imaging methods developed at NETL. The particle-fluid drag force data acquired from fine-scale simulations will be used to generate a database to help formulate an improved drag correlation that explicitly includes information on microstructures of particles and fluid flows as well as particle and fluid properties. Finally, the new drag correlation will be tested in the NETL open source multiphase gas solids flow and reactions simulation software MFIX (Multiphase Flow with Interphase eXchanges) by comparing simulation results using the new drag correlation with simulation results using existing drag models, and comparing the simulation results with published experimental data. The project team will also conduct studies to compare the new model with other traditional drag models to predict gas-solid flow interactions at mesoscopic scales.

Program Background and Project Benefits

The Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Other Minority Institutions (HBCU/OMI) Research and Development (R&D) Program within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Fossil Energy (FE) provides a mechanism to conduct cooperative FE R&D projects between DOE and the HBCU/OMI community. This program encourages private sector participation, collaboration, and interaction with HBCU/OMI in FE R&D; facilitates the exchange of technical information to raise the overall level of HBCU/OMI competitiveness with other institutions in the field of FE R&D; enhances educational and research training opportunities for tomorrow’s scientists by developing and supporting a broad-based research infrastructure; and helps to position HBCU/OMI graduates to enter technical and leadership roles in America’s FE industry.

The National Energy Technology Laboratory’s (NETL) Office of Coal and Power Systems supports the development of innovative, cost-effective technologies for improving the efficiency and environmental performance of advanced coal and power systems. One current focus area facilitates research to simulate the complex processes that occur within a coal gasifier or across an entire coal based chemical or power plant. This research helps scientists and engineers better understand the fundamental steps in these processes so they can more efficiently optimize coal power system design. NETL is partnering with Tuskegee University to investigate particle rotation effects in gas-solid flows using direct numerical simulation (DNS).

Completion of this project will provide a new drag model that accounts for particle rotation effects and quantitative insights into fundamental gas-solid particle interactions in flow regimes of interest to fossil energy power generation systems. The database resulting from this study will help to fill a data gap and formulate the constitutive equations necessary for more accurate Eulerian-Lagrangian multiphase flow models. These studies will eventually contribute to the design of more efficient and environmentally benign power generation systems.

Goal and Objectives

The goal of this project is to address the effects of particle rotation in gas-solid flows. Specific objectives to be studied include (1) the direct impact of particle rotation on the average particle-fluid drag force of a particle suspension at various Reynolds numbers (i.e., ratios of inertial to viscous forces); (2) the indirect impact of particle rotation on the drag force through the change in particle concentration distribution or the microstructure of a flow; and (3) the role of particle rotation in energy dissipation of a particle-fluid system.


The research team began modification of an existing software code for direct numerical simulation of gas-solid flow interactions. The team obtained from the NETL CES group a set of specifications for and purchased a computer capable of running the NETL multiphase flow simulation software package MFIX. The software was downloaded.