The photocatalytic degradation process has been recognized as a low-cost, environmentally friendly and sustainable technology for water and wastewater treatment. As a key carrier of the photocatalytic process, the semiconductor TiO2 has been used in many studies. Analysis and modelling of hydrodynamics in the three-phase flow system can provide useful information for process design, operation and optimization of the three-phase flow photocatalytic reactor, which requires research on the mixing and flow characteristics of the interphase regions in the reactor. In this study, we modelled the hydrodynamics in an internal air-lift circulating photocatalytic reactor using an Eulerian multi-fluid approach. Localized information on phase holdup, fluid flow patterns and mixing characteristics was obtained. The simulation results revealed that the distribution of solid particle concentration depends on the flow field in the internal air-lift circulating photocatalytic reactor. The distance between the draft tube and wall of the reactor and changes in the superficial gas velocity (Ug) were found to be influential factors in reactor performance. The computational model developed could support optimizing reactor design to improve the hydrodynamics and provide guidance for scale-up.

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