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The University of Southampton

Research project: Reactive multiphase granular flow

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Granular systems are ubiquitous across the industrial and environmental sectors so it is essential to develop methods that not only capture the granular behaviours accurately but also can be used to enhance industrial processes.

The impact of accurately predicting granular systems could lead to improved system performance yet minimised cost; or in the case of some natural events minimised disruption, such as volcanic ash distribution or avalanches.

Our particular focus is directed towards the energy sector and specifically fluidised bed reactors which are widely used for energy production. Industrial sized dense particle reactors contain a vast number of particles so to track and resolve these individually would be too computationally exhaustive. Volume averaged two-fluid methods have proven to be very useful at capturing the hydrodynamics and heat transfer characteristics by treating the granular and surrounding fluid as interpenetrating continua phases.

Our previous introduction of reactive modelling to the two-fluid methods has greatly impacted the field of fluidisation modelling by opening up the opportunity to further optimise industrial reactors with consideration to key reactive processes. This can enable the energy sector to potentially minimise harmful emissions or maximise the production of useful products, such as synthesis gas or hydrogen, for further energy production. There are a number of researchers focusing on different aspects of reactive granular flow modelling to improve the energy sector, including:

  • optimising reactor design to maximise synthesis gas production
  • introducing catalysts to model chemical looping combustion for carbon capture and storage oxyfuel processes
  • developing new porosity methods to better predict the heat transfer with fluidised beds
  • expanding the field to develop closure models that improve the accuracy of averaging methods, e.g., to capture multi-scale cluster formations and dense/dilute transitions.


Gaseous volume fraction with a gas volume fraction iso-value of 0.8 for four fluidised beds under with different operating conditions.
Gaseous volume fraction
Average mole fraction of the exiting gases compared against experimental data for four different cases.
Average mole fraction

Related research groups

Energy Technology

Key Publications

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