MCEC Members: Yali Tang (TU/e)

In the second phase of MCEC, we have welcomed many new members. In this rubric we will introduce them to you. 

Yali Tang (TU/e)

… is assistant professor at the research group Power & Flow of Prof. Niels Deen in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at TU Eindhoven.


What do I do?

Photo: Vincent van den Hoogen

My research focuses on the fundamentals of particle/bubble-laden flows using Computational Fluid Dynamics modelling. Within MCEC, I work on the transport phenomena in bubbly flows such as encountered in bubble column reactors for CO2 conversion to Methanol. Besides, I am working on also water electrolysis, metal fuel, and fluidization technology.

Particle/bubble-laden flows

Industrial applications of particle/bubble-laden flows are numerous, including slurry flows, fluidized beds, bubble columns, electrolysers, fuel sprays, soot particles from combustion, etc. Although there are unique physical attributes and properties that distinguish each of these applications, they are all closely related in their underlying multiphase flow physics. These flows are characterized by the presence of two phases: a continuous fluid-phase and a dispersed particulate/bubbly phase that is spatially distributed randomly within the fluid-phase. The two phases interact in a complex manner exchanging mass, momentum, and energy across their interfaces. This coupling between the two phases is the source of many interesting phenomenon that are unique to particle/bubble-laden flows, and is of my strong research interest.

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)

CFD has become an important toolkit in understanding the physics of complex multiphase flows and then accordingly for the design, optimization and scale-up of the technological processes. Due to the multiscale characteristics of particle/bubble-laden flows, it is not computationally possible to account for all the relevant length and time scales in a single simulation model. Therefore, different modelling methods have been developed to simulate typical particle/bubble-laden flows at different scales with different levels of details. In my research, the Direct Numerical Simulation (DNS) and the unresolved Euler-Lagrange (EL) method are employed for understanding of microscale flow features in the vicinity of individual particles/bubbles and mesoscale flow behavior considering particle/bubble volume fractions, respectively. Take the MCEC project on CO2-to-Methanol in bubble columns as an example, our team is 1) using DNS to develop the closure models for describing effective gas-bubble interaction including the drag and lift forces, 2) and using the EL model incorporating these DNS-based closures to simulate the bubble swarm dynamics in a reactor and consequently the conversion performance.

Future development and collaboration

To create a realistic model for multiphase reacting flows, we have to include the correct reaction kinetics. Within this MCEC project, we collaborate with Prof. Pieter Bruijnincx at Utrecht University, whose team is working on the catalytic reaction kinetics for CO2 to Methanol conversion. MCEC is an excellent platform for interdisciplinary collaboration, and I am looking forward to more fruitful collaboration within MCEC.