In slurry bubble columns, the adhesion of solid catalyst particles to bubbles may significantly affect the G–L mass transfer and bubble size distribution. This feature may be exploited in design by modifying the hydrophilic or hydrophobic nature of the particles used. Previously we have proposed a generalised model, describing the adhesion of particles to G–L interface under stagnant conditions. In this work, we studied the adhesion of particles characterised by different degree of hydrophobicity and porosity: non-porous polystyrene and glass beads, unmodified and hydrophobised mesoporous silica, and activated carbon particles. Images recorded at high optical magnification show the particles adhering to gas bubbles individually or as aggregates. In aqueous media, higher liquid surface tension and particle surface hydrophobicity increase the adhesion strength and the tendency of particles to agglomerate, in agreement with the model. The adhesion of non-porous rough-surface particles to gas bubbles can be characterised by the receding contact angle. The advancing contact angle represents better the adhesion of the same particles to liquid droplets. We found that the “effective” contact angle of porous particles is much lower than an “intrinsic” contact angle calculated from the heat of immersion in water, or measured by sessile drop method. An equivalent contact angle derived from the Cassie rule explains the wetting behaviour of particles having the pores filled with liquid.
- Catalyst support