For the radial flow reactor with a packed catalyst bed, the pressure drop in radial direction will affect bed support stress and load condition significantly. Increased fines due to catalyst attrition during operation will increase the radial pressure drop. For an extreme case, the entire catalyst bed could be pushed inward and pinned to the reactor’s perforated center screen, potentially causing the internal components to be overly stressed by the excessive load. Understanding the impact of radial pressure drop to bed stress and load distribution is very important for reactor internals design and operation. In this study, a generic packed catalyst bed for a radial flow reactor is analytically modeled and examined for stress and load by a classical granular solid material model, i.e., Janssen’s theory, which is further modified to include the pressure drop effects for a radial flow reactor. Interactions between bed stress, load, and radial pressure drop are explored. The critical condition is derived.

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