Three-dimensional developing flow model for photocatalytic monolith reactors

Md Moazzem Hossain, Gregory Raupp, Steven O. Hay, Timothy N. Obee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

123 Scopus citations


A first-principles mathematical model describes performance of a titania-coated honeycomb monolith photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) reactor for air purification. The single-channel, 3-D convection-diffusion-reaction model assumes steady-state operation, negligible axial dispersion, and negligible homogeneous reaction. The reactor model accounts rigorously for entrance effects arising from the developing fluid-flow field and uses a previously developed first-principles radiation-field submodel for the UV flux profile down the monolith length. The model requires specification of an intrinsic photocatalytic reaction rate dependent on local UV light intensity and local reactant concentration, and uses reaction-rate expressions and kinetic parameters determined independently using a flat-plate reactor. Model predictions matched experimental pilot-scale formaldehyde conversion measurements for a range of inlet formaldehyde concentrations, air humidity levels, monolith lengths, and for various monolith/lamp-bank configurations. This agreement was realized without benefit of any adjustable photocatalytic reactor model parameters, radiation-field submodel parameters, or kinetic submodel parameters. The model tends to systematically overpredict toluene conversion data by about 33%, which falls within the accepted limits of experimental kinetic parameter accuracy. With further validation, the model could be used in PCO reactor design and to develop quantitative energy utilization metrics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1309-1321
Number of pages13
JournalAIChE Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Environmental Engineering
  • General Chemical Engineering


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