C.E.A. Finney, M. Vasudevan
University of Tennessee
Knoxville TN 37996-2210
We describe experiments with an air-fluidized bed of solid particles in which large numbers of particles move collectively in a synchronized oscillation referred to a "slugging". Slugging is often detrimental in fluidized-bed chemical reactors because it tends to reduce gas-solids mixing. Our observations suggest that slugging can be described as a low-dimensional chaotic process superimposed on a background of high-dimensional microscopic motion. The chaotic behavior appears to take the form of intermittent "stutters" over a certain air-flow range.
In addition to low-dimensional dynamics, our slugging bed exhibits sensitivity to small perturbations. We illustrate how this sensitivity can be used with feedback control to both enhance and disrupt slugging. Our particular control algorithm appears to operate by stimulating or inhibiting stutters. Based on our results, we conclude that it may be possible to use similar control strategies to improve the performance of commercial fluidized beds.
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