From random sphere packings to regular pillar arrays: Effect of the macroscopic confinement on hydrodynamic dispersion

Anton Daneyko, Siarhei Khirevich, Alexandra Höltzel, Andreas Seidel-Morgenstern, Ulrich Tallarek*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Flow and mass transport in bulk and confined chromatographic supports comprising random packings of solid, spherical particles and hexagonal arrays of solid cylinders (regular pillar arrays) are studied over a wide flow velocity range by a numerical analysis scheme, which includes packing generation by a modified Jodrey-Tory algorithm, three-dimensional flow field calculations by the lattice-Boltzmann method, and modeling of advective-diffusive mass transport by a random-walk particle-tracking technique. We demonstrate the impact of the confinement and its cross-sectional geometry (circular, quadratic, semicircular) on transient and asymptotic transverse and longitudinal dispersion in random sphere packings, and also address the influence of protocol-dependent packing disorder and the particle-aspect ratio. Plate height curves are analyzed with the Giddings equation to quantify the transcolumn contribution to eddy dispersion. Confined packings are compared with confined arrays under the condition of identical bed porosity, conduit cross-sectional area, and laterally fully equilibrated geometrical wall and corner effects on dispersion. Fluid dispersion in a regular pillar array is stronger affected by the macroscopic confinement and does not resemble eddy dispersion in random sphere packings, because the regular microstructure cannot function as a mechanical mixer like the random morphology. Giddings' coupling theory fails to preserve the nature of transverse dispersion behind the arrays' plate height curves, which approach a linear velocity-dependence as transverse dispersion becomes velocity-independent. Upon confinement this pseudo-diffusive behavior can outweigh the performance advantage of the regular over the random morphology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8231-8248
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Chromatography A
Issue number45
StatePublished - Nov 11 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Eddy dispersion
  • High-performance computing
  • Ordered pillar arrays
  • Packing disorder
  • Random sphere packings
  • Wall effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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