Experimental investigation and modeling of local mass transfer rates in pure and contaminated Taylor Flows

DFG SPP 1506

Sven Kastens, M.Sc. (2nd Project period),
Dipl.-Ing. Christoph Meyer (1st Project period)


In nature and most applications for Chemical, Bio-chemical, Medical and Environmental Engineering, the transport of molecules from one phase into another phase (gas/liquid or liquid/liquid) plays a dominant role to achieve high yields and purities. For a process optimization, a deep understanding of  local transport processes at the fluidic interphases is essential. In Priority Programme SPP1506 "transport processes at fluid interfaces" of the DFG, these transport processes are investigated under defined conditions in sequential gas / liquid flows, so-called Slug - or Taylor Flows (Fig. 1. left), and at single Taylor Bubbles (Fig.1, right) rising in vertical capillaries.

Taylor Flows owing to their defined bubble shape, interfacial and hydrodynamic adjustability for the very study of the coupling of hydrodynamics and mass transport.



Experimental Setup "Taylor Flows"

Fig.2: Left: scheme experimental setup for µPIV Measurements in the  slug between two bubbles. Right: Post Processing of the raw image to flow structure and the velocity field in the slug as result.

Fig.3: Left: image of experimental setup for µPIV Measurements in the  lliquid film. Right: Comparison of simulation and experiments  of the  liquid velocity in the film.


Interface of Taylor bubbles is mobile and “crawls” along the channel wall
No-slip condition at the channel wall and the large viscosity ratio - low liquid velocities in the film.

Using micro particle image velocimetry velocity profiles and velocity fields can be measured and visualized by vector fields. This  is illustrated in the local flow between bubbles in a Taylor flow (see Figure 2, right).
The analyses of the direct and indirect influence of surfactants (ionic and non-ionic surfactants) on the transport processes in such systems  is of great interest, because even slight contamination may have already an influence on the bubble shape and the flow around them and can influence processes massively (see Fig. 4, compare left and right). Moreover, in most industrial processes, small contamination of fluids can not be avoided or are wanted, that the transfer of results from model processes to real industrial processes  are challenging. Therefore, the deep investigation of the effect by surfactants can optimize the economic design of multiphase reactors.


Fig.4: Left: bubble shape and velocity field around the bubble rear in a pure system. Right : bubble shape and velocity field around the bubble rear in a contaminated system. Changes of the Flow field are marked with a red circle.


2nd Project period, Taylor Bubble


For detailed and time-dependent analysis of local transport processes at fluidic interfaces single Taylor Bubbles are examined in rising vertical channels. Those Taylor bubbles show the unusual behavior of a volume independent rise velocity and can be kept in the observation area by a constant counter-current flow (see Set-up in Figure 5 left). This enables to investigate the global and local transport processes, for example during the dissolution process of CO2 bubbles (section) channels with different cross-sectional geometries (see Figure 5, right).



 Fig. 5: Left: Schematic experimental Set-up for investigations at single Taylor Bubbles. Right:  Single Taylor Bubbles of the same gas volume in different channel sizes with circular and square cross section.


Local Velocity Fields are determined using Particle Image Velocimetry, where the deposition of tracer particles between highspeed images corresponds to the local velocity vectors. In the animation on the right side, the tracer particles are following the streamlines around the an air Taylor bubble fixed in a counter current flow, where the channel diameter is D=6mm.

Concentration fields of dissolved gases can be measured by Laser-Induced Fluorescence (LIF) and with Confocal Laser Scanning Microscopy (spatial resolution of 5 microns). Fluorescent dyes, which are sensitive to dissolved gases are used to measure and visualize concentration fields during the mass transfer investigations of O2 and CO2 bubbles. For example, the sensitive property of a ruthenium complex with respect to the dissolved oxygen in the aqueous medium. The fluorescent response having lower intensities, the higher the concentration of dissolved oxygen is in the fluid.

Thanks to these measurement methods the SPP1506 will deliver sustainable experimental data and enables validation of numerical investigations that allow new insights into the transport processes of fluidic interfaces.
This project is supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG) within the priority program 1506 "Transport Processes at Fluidic Interfaces".
Project manager: Sven Kastens, M.Sc., (Dipl.-Ing. Christoph Meyer)  


Kastens, S.; Timmermann, J.; Strassl, F.; Rampmaier, R. F.; Hoffmann, A.; Herres-Pawlis, S.; Schlüter, M.: Test system for the investigation of reactive Taylor bubbles. Chem. Eng. Tech., 2017, 40(8), pp. 1494-1501DOI: 10.1002/ceat.201700047 

Falconi, C. J.; Lehrenfeld, C.; Marschall, H.; Meyer, C.; Abiev, R.; Bothe, D; Reusken, A.; Schlüter, M.; Wörner, M.: Numerical and experimental analysis of local flow phenomena in laminar Taylor flow in a square mini-channel, Physics of Fluids, 2016, 28, 012109-1 - 012109-23, DOI: 10.1063/1.4939498.

Kastens, S.; Hosoda, S.; Schlüter, M.; Tomiyama, A.: Mass Transfer from Single Taylor Bubbles in Mini Channels, Chemical Engineering & Technology, 2015, 38(11), special Issue: "Multiscale Multiphase Process Engineering" (Editorial: Schlüter, M.; Bothe, D.; Terasaka, K.), pp. 1925-1932, DOI: 10.1002/ceat.201500065.

Meyer, C.; Hoffmann, M.; Schlüter, M.: Micro-PIV analysis of gas-liquid Taylor flow in a vertical oriented square shaped fluidic channel, International Journal of Multiphase Flow, 2014, 67, S. 140-148, DOI: 10.1016/j.ijmultiphaseflow.2014.07.004.

Aland, S.; Lehrenfeld, C.; Marschall, H.;  Meyer, C.; Weller, S: Accuracy of two-phase flow simulations: The Taylor Flow benchmark, PAMM-Proceedings in Applied Mathematics and Mechanics, 2013, 13(1), S. 595 – 598, DOI: 10.1002/pamm.201310278.

Chapter in Books:

Kastens, S.; Meyer, C.; Hoffmann, M.; Schlüter, M.: Experimental Investigation and Modelling of Local Mass Transfer Rates in Pure and Contaminated Taylor Flows, in Transport Processes at Fluidic Interfaces (ISBN 978-3-319-56602-3), Bothe, D.; Reusken, A. (Eds.), Advances in Mathematical Fluid Mechanics, 2017, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-56602-3_21

Project periods:

01.07.2010 - 30.06.2013: Dipl.-Ing. Christoph Meyer
01.08.2013 - 31.07.2016: M.Sc. Sven Kastens

Project partner:

Prof. Dr. Dieter Bothe, Technische Universität Darmstadt, Mathematische Modellierung und Analysis, Center of Smart Interfaces (Coordinator of the SPP 1506)

Prof. Dr. Arnold Reusken, RWTH Aachen, Chair of Numerical Mathematics (Coordinator of the SPP 1506)

Prof. Dr. Akio Tomiyama, Kobe University, Department of Mechanical Engineering

Prof. Dr-Ing. Uwe Hampel, TU Dresden, Institut für Energietechnik, AREVA-Stiftungsprofessur für Bildgebende Messverfahren für die Energie- und Verfahrenstechnik und Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf, Institut für Fluiddynamik, Abteilung Experimentelle Thermofluiddynamik

Dr.-Ing. M. Wörner, Karlsruher Institut für Technologie, Institut fuer Katalyseforschung und -technologie (IKFT)

Prof. Dr.-Ing. I. Smirnova, Institut für Thermische Verfahrenstechnik, TU Hamburg Harburg

Air Taylor bubble fixed in counter current flow in D=6mm channel.