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Experimental study and modeling of hydrodynamic and heating characteristics of flighted rotary kilns

  • Bongo Njeng, Alex Stéphane
Publication Date
Nov 04, 2015
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The present work addresses a fundamental study on flighted rotary kilns. They are gas-solid reactors, used in a variety of industries to process heterogeneous media. However, operating these kilns mainly relies on the know-how of operators due to insufficient fundamental understanding. The aim of this work is to provide engineers with relevant tools and models to assist in the design stage and the performance improvement of existing operating process units, in particular indirectly heated rotary kilns, inclined and equipped with lifters. In the first part, we studied the effects of operating parameters on the flow of materials of differing properties and shape. For this purpose, residence time distribution measurements were performed through experimental stimulus response tests. Two pilot-scale rotary kilns with similar length-to-diameter ratios, but a dimension ratio of about two were used in this study. We focused on the effects of lifter shape and configurations. The effects of the rotational speed, the kiln slope, the mass flow rate and the exit dam height were also analyzed. The flow of solids was quantitatively characterized primarily by the experimental mean residence time, hold-up, and axial dispersion coefficient. Using a dimensional analysis, models were established to predict the mean residence time, the filling degree and the axial dispersion coefficient, providing basic information on the kiln design, solid particle properties and operating conditions. In the second part, we studied the heat transfer mechanisms occurring in the flighted rotary kiln by measuring temperature profiles at the wall, the freeboard gas and the bulk of solids. Analysis of the temperature profiles focused on two main issues: assessment of the heat transfer coefficient between wall and gas, and assessment of the heat transfer coefficient between wall and solid particles. The lumped system analysis and a heat balance using the power supplied for the heating were applied to determine the experimental heat transfer coefficients. The effects of operating conditions and lifting flights were analyzed. Both heat transfer coefficients were then correlated through dimensional considerations. Lastly a global dynamic model mainly based on the models developed in this study can be used to determine wall, gas and bulk solids axial temperature profiles in an indirectly heated flighted rotary kiln. This global model needs to be completed with specific models related to a reaction so as to be used as a framework for the simulation of specific industrial rotary kilns.

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