Journal of Photonics for Energy • Open AccessStudy on particle and photonic flux distributions in a magnetically stirred photocatalytic reactor
When dispersed in water, nanoscale photocatalysts can aggregate into microscale secondary particles due to their high surface energy. The interaction between the incident photons and the aggregated particles is expected to be significantly changed due to their comparable length scales. Hydrodynamics of the particles after aggregation and the resultant photonic flux distributions in slurry photocatalytic reactors are therefore essential. The magnetically stirred photocatalytic reactor is compact and simple for fabrication, and therefore can be readily employed in lab-scale photocatalytic tests. However, studies toward its optimization are rare. In our study, the photocatalyst distribution was simulated using a Eulerian–Lagrangian approach, while the evolution of free liquid surface led by magnetic stirring was modeled by volume of fluid method. Subsequently, based on the photocatalyst distribution, the photonic flux distribution was obtained through a mean free path-based Monte Carlo method. Outcomes suggest that at a stirring speed of 900 rpm, the 10 μm particles can be well suspended, and a moderate free liquid surface will also be present. Moreover, under sufficient stirring, larger catalyst particles are more likely to be densely distributed in the outer region, which contributes to an increase in the overall photonic absorption even higher than the one with evenly distributed photocatalysts.