Document Type





two-phase flow, flow simulation, flow through porous media, particle size


Chemical Engineering


A countercurrent gas–liquid flow through a fixed bed of spherical particles is examined numerically by solving the particle-scale equations governing the gas and liquid flows. The liquid is assumed to flow along the surface of the particles forming a thin film. The case of small gas flow rates is examined in detail first. In this limit the presence of the liquid film increases the gas pressure drop over its value for a dry bed by three mechanisms: The liquid film makes the apparent size of the particles larger, decreases the pore space for the gas flow, and, with its velocity pointing opposite to the mean gas flow, increases the apparent velocity of the gas compared with the particle surface. The excess pressure drop is determined for both periodic and random arrangements of particles. Next, the case of high gas flow rates where the traction exerted by the gas at the gas–liquid interface is comparable to the weight of the liquid film is examined. In this regime the liquid holdup increases with the gas flow rate and the pressure drop-gas velocity relation is nonlinear. The results of numerical simulations are compared with approximate models and it is shown that a simple capillary model yields reasonably accurate predictions for the liquid holdup and gas pressure drop.

Additional Information

Copyright 2001 Physics of Fluids. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and Physics of Fluids. The article may be found at



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