(photograph) "2-D fluidized bed" at University of Tennessee, College of Engineering, Fluidization Research Laboratory, part of the Chaos Research Group's current interests. The vessel consists of two parallel, flat acrylic sheets with narrow side walls, and the vessel is filled with a bed of small glass beads. Air is then passed through a porous plate at the vessel bottom, and air bubbles form and rise through the glass bed until they erupt on the surface. Light is transmitted though the vessel's back face for this photograph of the front face.
Fluidization concerns the suspension or transport of solids by liquids and/or gases. The most common engineering application is in the form of fluidized beds, which are containers of solid particles through which is passed the fluidizing medium, usually a gas. Fluidized beds are used in petroleum distillation, coal combustion, polymer production, and heat and mass-transfer processes, such as food drying.
Fluidization science is quite young. Although used in several instances of ore extraction since the seventeenth century, the major development in fluidized beds came with the petroleum cracking beds in the early 1940s, a process which greatly enhanced and economized petrol production. Fluidization science has generally been approached from the perspective of traditional fluid mechanics, with emphasis on temporally and spatially averaged correlations. Although researchers and engineers had witnessed complex, irregular behavior in fluidized beds, not until 1989 were fluidization and deterministic chaos linked.
The CRG has studied fluidized beds since 1991, building on earlier work at ORNL. Primary research interests include fluidization-regime characterization using chaotic time-series analysis, agglomerate detection, advanced chaos control and acoustic measurements of fluidization. Since 1999, we have focused work on experimental validation of dynamic numerical simulations using MFIX.
We have compiled a "Bibliography of chaos and fluidization" to assist in further research.
For more information about fluidization, see
Primary contacts for this research area are: C.S. Daw, K. Nguyen, D.D. Bruns and C.E.A. Finney.
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Updated: 2001-12-27 ceaf