Thermo-mechanical failure of components in a compact steam reformer is a major obstacle to bring this technology to real-life applications. The probability of material degradation and failure depends strongly on the convective heat transfer in the fuel gas flow duct and local temperature distribution in multifunctional materials. It is of significant importance to accurately predict the convective heat transfer coupled with catalytic reactions within the reformer components. In this paper, the simulation and analysis of combined chemical reactions and transport processes are conducted for a duct relevant for compact design steam reformer, which consists of a porous layer for the catalytic reforming reactions of methane, the fuel gas flow duct and solid plates. A fully three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) approach is applied to calculate transport processes and effects of thermal conductivities of the involved multi-functional materials on convective heat transfer/temperature distributions, in terms of interface temperature gradients/heat fluxes and Nusselt numbers. The steam reformer conditions such as mass balances associated with the reactions and gas permeation to/from the porous anode are implemented in the calculation. The results show that the classic thermal boundary conditions (either constant heat flux or temperature, or combined one) may not be applicable for the interfaces between the fuel flow duct and solid plate/porous layer.

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