Multicomponent Adsorption Simulation


Adsorption is a well established separation technique applied e. g. in gas upgrading for high-purity gases like CH 4 or H 2 or for chromatographic separation of components. The purpose of this thesis is to obtain better understanding of the separation process by CFD modelling and to derive new models for fast evaluation of such setups.


  1. Literature review on multicomponent adsorption models
  2. Experimental investigation of multicomponent adsorption of e. g. CH 4 and CO 2 in H 2 on activated carbon (or a similar task) on a lab scale adsorption column
  3. Comparison of different multicomponent adsorption models with the experimental results
  4. Using CFD to model the adsorption process for the experiments with resolved particles in the packing
  5. Derivation and implementation of an unresolved porous adsorption code
  6. CFD simulation of the experimental process using the unresolved code and comparison

Proposed Working Plan:

Phase 1:

  • Literature review (base data available from previous thesis)
  • Training for operating the lab setup for adsorption
  • Training in OpenFOAM

Phase 2:

  • Experimental investigation of single and multicomponent adsorption on a packed activated carbon column
  • Design-of-Experiments (DoE) for optimizing the experimental work
  • Data evaluation for the different runs (mass and energy balances, thermal profiles along the packed bed, investigation of the gas stream compositions, adsorption equilibrium and kinetics)

Phase 3:

  • Geometry creation for resolved CFD simulation (packing generator)
  • CFD runs with adsorption solver
  • Quantitative comparison of CFD results and experimental data (independent validation run)
  • Derivation of models for unresolved adsorption simulations on a simplified porous packing
  • CFD simulation runs using the unresolved code, comparison with resolved and experimental data

Draft for publication

Administrative Issues:

  • Earliest starting date: April 2018
  • Expected duration: 6 – 8 months
  • Supervision: Michael Harasek, Christian Jordan/Bahram Haddadi/Martin Miltner
  • Joint supervision with: Talib Dbouk, Remi Gautier (IMT – Universite de Lille, Douai City/France)
  • Place of work: Experimental at TU Wien, Simulation flexible
  • Visit to partner university (Universite de Lille, Douai City) via ERASMUS grant possible
  • Financial support possible (award at end of thesis or about 450 €/month, „geringfügig“)
  • Prerequisites: registered master student of Chemical Engineering or Chemistry

Dr. Michael Harasek, Email:
Christian Jordan, Email:

Snapshots of CO mass fraction in an adsorption column