Large eddy simulation of flow in water and wastewater disinfection reactors
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Hydrodynamic behavior in reactors used for water treatment, particularly in ozone contactors with serpentine flow, is known to strongly affect the process efficiency. However, exact flow characteristics inside these reactors are not well understood, as traditional approach either considers these reactors as black box or relies on less accurate Reynolds-Averaged Navier-Stokes (RANS) simulation. In order to provide a deep understanding of the hydrodynamics and solute transport phenomena in these reactors, high resolution numerical studies using the Large Eddy Simulation (LES) method are performed. The reactor geometries investigated in this research are Constant Baffle Spacing Multi-Chamber (CBSMC) ozone contactors and a Variable Baffle Spacing ozone contactor Model (VBSM). The LES results in two multi-chamber ozone contactors (CBSMC -Normal-Width and -Half-Width) suggest that the flow through these reactors is characterized by the presence of extensive short-circuiting and large internal recirculation. The results also suggest that the flow is highly three dimensional with a pair of symmetric counter-rotating secondary vortices. LES studies based on VBSM, the baffle spacing of which varies between 0.5 times to 5 times the size of the base chamber; suggest that the width of the recirculation zone grows at about the same rate as the baffle spacing. Instantaneous turbulent eddies are prevalent in the chamber and increase turbulent mixing. The elevated levels of turbulence are found in the short-circuiting flow path. The tracer is dispersed along the short-circuiting path and strongly into the recirculation zone due to turbulent diffusion. Baffle spacing greater than the entrance gate height, but also smaller baffle spacing, worsens the disinfection efficiency. Finally, the turbulent Schmidt number of RANS simulation was investigated by employing the previously validated LES simulation. Due to the presence of very strong turbulent diffusion in the reactors, the turbulent Schmidt number is found out to be much less than the values commonly used, and is also specific to the baffle spacing.