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External mass transfer coefficients in packed beds There are a variety of correlations of mass transfer coefficients available in the

literature. From Perry's Chemical Engineers' Handbook, 6th ed., p. 4-38 (1984), the ChiltonColburn correlations can be expressed in the following manner. The mass transfer coefficient for species A in a gas, k gA , is given by:

G mol k gA = 0.99 2 s m Pa MPfa

G mol k gA 2 = 1.82 MP s m Pa fa

2 / 3 0.41 Sc Re
2 / 3 0.51 Sc Re

for Reynolds number > 350

for Reynolds number < 350

See below for explanation of these correlations in terms of Chilton-Colburn jD factors. Reynolds number:
Re d pG = momentum convection momentum diffusion
momentum diffusion mass diffusion

Schmidt number:


f DA

Superficial mass velocity:

kg m G 2 = m s Ax
2 2

d Reactor cross-sectional area: Ax m = rxr 2 Pressure film factor: Pfa = Ptotal + PA A

The Schmidt number and the Reynolds number are dimensionless , M is mean molecular weight of the gas (kg/mol), dp is catalyst pellet diameter (m), is fluid viscosity (Pa . s = kg/s/m), f is gas density (kg/m3), DA is the diffusion coefficient of A (m2/s) in the gas mixture, m is mass flow rate into reactor (kg/s), drxr is the internal diameter of the reactor vessel (m), Ptotal is the gas total pressure (Pa), PA is the partial pressure of reactant species A (Pa), and A is the change in moles with reaction per mole species A ((moles products minus moles reactants) / moles A). The rate of mass transfer rate of species A from the bulk gas to the external surface of catalyst pellets is given by:

m2 mol mol rA = aes k Ag 2 ( PA,bulk [ Pa ] PA,es ) s m Pa kg s kg

3 m2 mol mol Pa m mol rA Rg = aes k Ag T [ K ] C A,bulk 3 C A,es 2 s m Pa mol K m kg s kg

m2 m mol mol rA = aes km C A,bulk 3 C A,es m kg s kg s

3 m mol Pa m km = k Ag Rg T [K ] 2 s s m Pa mol K

4 ( d p / 2 ) m2 6 External surface area of pellets: aes = = 3 pd p kg p ( 4 / 3) ( d p / 2 )


The subscript "es" refers to conditions at the external surface of the pellets and p is the pellet density (kg/m3), The correlations for kgA given above are from rearrangement of the Chilton-Colburn jD factor correlations
G mol k gA = 0.99 2 MPfa s m Pa 2 / 3 0.41 Sc Re

for Re > 350

This can be expressed as

k gA MPfa jD = G 2/3 Sh = 0.99 Re0.41 Sc = 1/ 3 Sc Re

m km d p [ m] s Sherwood number: Sh 2 m DA s

Note that the Chilton-Colburn jD factor is a function of Reynolds number only. The correlation can also be expressed as:

Sh = 0.99Sc1/ 3 Re0.59

for Re > 350

The Sherwood number is a dimensionless mass transfer coefficient and can also be considered a dimensionless concentration gradient. It is also referred to as the Nusselt number for mass transfer.