The Influence of Surface Roughness on Resistance to Flow Through Packed Beds

[+] Author and Article Information
C. W. Crawford

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-2714

O. A. Plumb

College of Engineering and Architecture, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164-2714

J. Fluids Eng 108(3), 343-347 (Sep 01, 1986) (5 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3242584 History: Received March 19, 1985; Online October 26, 2009


Experiments were performed to determine the effect of roughness on flow through randomly packed beds of spheres. Three different packings were investigated, one of smooth spheres, and two others composed of spheres with roughness elements added to the surface. The relative roughness, defined as the height of the added elements divided by the diameter of the smooth spheres, was .012 and .026 for these two cases. The experiments covered a range of Reynolds numbers based on the sphere diameter from near unity where the flow is dominated by viscosity to 1600 where the flow is dominated by inertia. It was found that the pressure drop is substantially increased by the presence of surface roughness over the entire range of Reynolds numbers studied. The observed behavior is quite different from that which has been proposed previously by drawing analogy with flow in rough pipes, since the flow at low Reynolds number as well as high Reynolds number was affected by roughness.

Copyright © 1986 by ASME
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