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Investigation of pressure drop in 3D replicated open-cell foams: coupling CFD with experimental data on additively manufactured foams

Bracconi, Mauro; Ambrosetti, Matteo; Okafor, Obinna; Sans, Victor; Zhang, Xun; Ou, Xiaoxia; Da Fonte, Claudio Pereira; Fan, Xiaolei; Maestri, Matteo; Groppi, Gianpiero; Tronconi, Enrico


Mauro Bracconi

Matteo Ambrosetti

Obinna Okafor

Victor Sans

Xun Zhang

Xiaoxia Ou

Claudio Pereira Da Fonte

Xiaolei Fan

Matteo Maestri

Gianpiero Groppi

Enrico Tronconi


Open-cell foams as structured catalyst supports are promising candidates for the design of high throughput catalytic processes. In this contribution, we employ a coupled numerical and experimental approach to assess the pressure losses in foams. Large discrepancies between experimental results and predictions by empirical/analytical correlations are present in the literature, mainly due to the structural differences between adopted models and real foams. To exclude such structural differences, we explore virtually-generated foam models and their 3D printed replicas for a combined CFD and experimental study of fluid dynamics in foams. In particular, we focus our analysis on the low Reynolds number regime (Re?[less than] 50), where deviations between the existing correlation and experimental data are more pronounced. We find a very good agreement between CFD simulations and experimental measurements in evaluating the pressure drop of gas flows across foams. The effect of porosity, cell sizes and strut shape are studied, leading to the derivation of an engineering correlation for the pressure drop in open-cell foams. Subsequently, the derived correlation is used to evaluate the trade-off between the external transport rate and the pressure drop, which is a pivotal aspect in most environmental catalytic processes: results show that open-cell foams can outperform honeycomb monoliths in the range of low Reynolds numbers.


Bracconi, M., Ambrosetti, M., Okafor, O., Sans, V., Zhang, X., Ou, X., …Tronconi, E. (2018). Investigation of pressure drop in 3D replicated open-cell foams: coupling CFD with experimental data on additively manufactured foams. Chemical Engineering Journal,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 7, 2018
Online Publication Date Oct 9, 2018
Publication Date Oct 9, 2018
Deposit Date Oct 25, 2018
Publicly Available Date Oct 25, 2018
Journal Chemical Engineering Journal
Print ISSN 1385-8947
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Keywords Open-cell foams; Virtual reconstruction; CFD; Additive manufacturing; Pressure drop
Public URL
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