Effects of superficial liquid velocity (Ul), superficial gas velocity (Ug), and fiber mass fraction (C) on gas holdup (ε) and flow regime transition are studied experimentally in well-mixed water-cellulose fiber suspensions in a cocurrent bubble column. Experimental results show that the gas holdup decreases with increasing Ul when C and Ug are constant. The gas holdup is not significantly affected by C in the range of C < 0.4%, but decreases with increasing C in the range of 0.4% ≤ C ≤ 1.5%. When C > 1.5%, a significant amount of gas is trapped in the fiber network and recirculates with the water-fiber slurry in the system; as a result, the measured gas holdup is higher than that at C = 1.5%. The axial gas holdup distribution is shown to be a complex function of superficial gas and liquid velocities and fiber mass fraction. The drift-flux model is used to analyze the flow regime transitions at different conditions. Three distinct flow regimes are observed when C ≤ 0.4%, but only two are identified when 0.6% ≤ C ≤ 1.5%. The superficial gas velocities at which flow transition occurs from one regime to another are not significantly affected by Ul and slightly decrease with increasing C.

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