Author(s): Balo JN, Humeau P, Le Cloirec P
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Abstract The determination of residence time is of major interest in terms of the characterisation, design and modelling of most environmental engineering processes, where a proper and homogeneous fluid distribution is often essential, and especially in the domain of wastewater or waste material treatment. In this paper, two different numerical methods for obtaining theoretical predictions of residence time distributions using the finite volume method are used. The first one consists of solving a transport equation of the local mean age of the fluid, which is the average time that a fluid particle takes to reach any point of the domain from a supply inlet. The result obtained is a spatial distribution of the local mean age of the fluid, which may be displayed as isocontours in the space domain considered. The second one consists of injecting a virtual particle stream (i.e. a fluid particle having the same density as the surrounding fluid, and treated numerically as a tracer) and measuring the time elapsed between the injection and the termination of the trajectory using a Lagrangian reference frame. The result obtained is expressed as an exit time distribution and may be displayed as a histogram. Finally, a comparison with measurements of mean residence times of tracers in a lagoon is made in order to establish the relevance of this method in concrete form. The prediction enables the instantaneous determination of the geometrical characteristics of the flow that contribute actually to the residence time dispersion. Its appropriate use prior to the design of water treatment and waste material treatment installations should contribute to prevent undesirable flow patterns such as short-circuiting and dead spaces.
This article was published in Water Res
and referenced in Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation