3D-Measurements in dense granular assemblies using hyperpolarised Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Due to the limited accessibility of the bulk material to direct detection methods, often only integral flow quantities can be measured at the inlet and outlet of packed bed reactors. The exact understanding of the processes inside these technical systems is, thus, just as difficult as the system design with regard to energy efficiency and product quality. Furthermore, predictions from simulations cannot be experimentally validated in detail.
Therefore, in project A2 the three-dimensional (3D) velocity field of the gas flow will be first measured in the reference configuration of the CRC/TRR with spherical and complex shaped particles by means of hyperpolarised phase contrast magnetic resonance imaging (pc-MRI). Three-dimensional, temporally and spatially resolved flow maps of the entire gas volume will be generated.
These flow field data are essential and form the basis for the further understanding of the homogeneous and heterogeneous chemical reaction rates in particle beds. Sensors or tracer particles, which in turn can perturb the flow and particle movement, are not required. Optical access is also not necessary and arbitrary geometries are possible. The high flexibility of pc-MRI allows adaptations of the measurement to the requirements, e.g. regarding the sample volume (up to about 40 x 40 x 40 cm in commercial MRI) and the spatial (approx. 1 millimetre) or temporal resolution (approx. 1/10 second).
With established MRI methods, usually only liquids can be detected due to their favourable physical properties with regards to generation of magnetisation (also called spin polarisation) and its life-time (relaxation properties). In this project, the transition to gaseous media is made possible by the application of highly innovative hyperpolarisation techniques. With this, the comprehensive threedimensional, quantitative measurement of gas flow fields in complex geometries of non-transparent particle beds will be possible for the first time. Therefore, in addition to hyperpolarisation of the gas, MRI flow measurement methods for hyperpolarised magnetisation must be established. In addition, the development of materials and measurement setups is required that support the use of hyperpolarised gases without interference with the high spin polarisation.
A2 will, therefore, build a continuous flow Xenon hyperpolariser with sufficient flow and polarisation level for fast and accurate MRI detection of gas (WP 1), a Xe-coil for Xe-MRI (WP 2), select and characterise proper materials for building an MR-compatible reference experiment (WP 3), extend a table to MR system for Xe-capability (WP 4), develop 3D pc-MRI flow measurement method for the application in hyperpolarised gas systems (WP 5) and measure and process flow data from the reference configuration (WP 6) to be provided to the simulation projects and to be compared to the other experimental methodology.