Numerical Simulation of the Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Potential Distribution on Porous Cathode in a Flow-through Packed Bed Reactor. Influence of Thickness, Concentration and Hydrodynamics in Porous Media

Monday, 6 October 2014: 11:40
Sunrise, 2nd Floor, Star Ballroom 7 (Moon Palace Resort)
F. F. Rivera and J. L. Nava (Universidad de Guanajuato)
Packed bed electrodes can be used for electrochemical recovery of heavy metals from a variety of industrial and laboratory model solutions. The packed bed electrode forms a porous flow-through (Figure 1) configuration providing large surface area usually depleting the concentration of several metal ions below 0.1 ppm. For design porpoises of these electrodes, it is necessary to study the influence of geometry (cathode thickness), flow rate and concentration on potential distribution.

Numerical simulations of primary, secondary and tertiary current distributions on the porous cathode of a packed bed electrochemical reactor (Figure 1) were calculated. For primary and secondary current distribution, Laplace equations with its respective boundary conditions (constant potential for primary current distribution and charge transfer kinetics described by a Tafel approximation in secondary current distribution) were evaluated using the finite element method. For tertiary current distribution, the influence of hydrodynamics was taken in account, considering Navier-Stokes model with Brinkman extension for porous media. Once Brinkman equations was solved and local velocity distributions were obtained, local mass transfer coefficients were evaluated by means of following relationship:


 where Km is local mass transport coefficient, a is the specific area, v is local velocity, c and b are empirical constants taken from literature.    

The effects of flow rate, ion concentration, matrix conductivity and thicknes on the distribution of current on porous cathode are analyzed.  Results of current distribution obtained by Nava et. al 2008 [1] enable comparisons with the simulations.

References: [1] J.L. Nava, M.T. Oropeza, C. Ponce de León, J. González-García, A.J. Frías-Ferrer. Hydrometallurgy, 91, 2008, 98-103