Influência de aspectos geométricos na hidrodinâmica e transferência de oxigênio de biorreatores airlift de circulação interna
Esperança, Mateus Nordi
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The performance of pneumatic bioreactors is highly related to their geometric characteristics, such as the bottom clearance, riser to downcomer cross sectional area ratio, liquid height and the gas-liquid separator design. Although new geometries have been proposed, it is still necessary deeper studies to obtain more adequate reactor projects for bioprocess applications. This study evaluated the influence of the gas-liquid separator design on the hydrodynamics and oxygen transfer of 10-L concentric-tube airlift bioreactors, using Newtonian and non- Newtonian fluids and in order to define the better set of geometric characteristics. To reach this aim, the gas-liquid separator openness angle (α) varied from 30° to 90° and the volume fraction of fluid present on the gas-liquid separator section (FVL,GLS) varied from 0.10 to 0.30. The results indicated that for both fluids (Newtonian and non-Newtonian), the overall volumetric oxygen transfer coefficient (kLa) increased with the increase in α and a decrease in FVL,GS. Meanwhile, this gas-liquid separator geometry caused low global gas hold-up (εG), suggesting the reduction of mean bubble diameter (dB) for this condition. Operating with the non-Newtonian fluid at 5.0 vvm, the best gas-liquid separator geometry (α=90°; FV L,GLS=0,10) exhibited kLa and εG of 0,017 s-1 and 0,11, respectively. Moreover, this set of geometric characteristics lead to a gas-liquid flow with intermediate values for the drag coefficient (CD), suggesting moderate shear conditions. For the best geometry, the average shear rate varied from 1500 to 2400 s-1, in a similar range when compared to other airlift bioreactors. These results indicate the feasibility to use this bioreactor geometry in applications with shear-sensitive microorganisms.