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HYDRODYNAMIC EVALUATION OF A SQUARE CROSS-SECTION SPLIT AIRLIFT USING CFD

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Airlift bioreactors are an interesting alternative to conventional stirred tank bioreactors and its hydrodynamics has been evaluated generally using experimental approach, demanding time, energy, and reagents. In this scenario, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) has emerging as an important and valuable tool for the analysis and design of these devices, saving time and experimental effort and providing a large amount of information. In this study, a square cross-section 10-L split airlift bioreactor operating with distilled water was simulated using CFD and the hydrodynamics variables gas hold-up and liquid velocity were evaluated. A grid sensitivity analysis was performed and results indicated the best mesh structure to be used further, combining accuracy and less computational effort. Comparison between predicted and experimental results indicated a good agreement for riser gas hold-up, while liquid velocities exhibited errors up to 33,7%.