Computational fluid dynamics simulations were performed to model solar ZnO dissociation in a tubular aerosol reactor at ultra-high temperatures (1900 K–2300 K). Reactor aspect ratios ranged between 0.15 and 0.45, with the smallest ratio base case corresponding to a reactor diameter of .02286 m. Gas flowrates were set such that the Ar:ZnO ratio was greater than 3:1 and the system residence time was below 2 s. The system was found to exhibit highly laminar flow in all cases (Re ∼ 10), but gas velocity profiles did not seriously affect temperature profiles. Particle heating was nearly instantaneous, a result of the high radiation heat flux from the wall. There was essentially no difference between gas and particle temperatures due to the high surface area for conductive heat exchange between the phases. Calculation of ZnO conversion showed that significant conversions (>90%) could be attained for residence times typical of rapid aerosol processing. Particle sizes larger than 1 μm negatively affected conversion, but sizes of 10 μm still gave acceptable conversion levels. Simulation of reaction of product oxygen with the reactor wall showed that a reactor constructed of an oxidation-sensitive material would not be a viable choice for a high temperature solar reactor.

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