Multicomponent gas diffusion in nonuniform tubes

Thomas Veltzke*, Lars Kiewidt, Jorg Thöming

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


In many technical processes gas, multicomponent diffusion takes place in confinements that are rarely uniform in direction of their long axis (e.g., catalysts pores). Here, we show that in conical tubes multicomponent diffusion is hindered. This effect increases with ratio of inlet to outlet cone radius Λ, indifferent of the orientation of the tube. Based on the Maxwell-Stefan equations, predictive analytical solution for ideal multicomponent diffusion in slightly tapered ducts is developed. In two-bulb diffusion experiments on a uniform tube, the results of Duncan and Toor (1962) were reproduced. Comparison of model and experiment shows that the solution presented here provides a reliable quantitative prediction of the temporal change of H2, N2, and CO2-concentration for both tube geometries, uniform and slightly conical. In the demonstrated case (Λ=3.16), mass diffusion is 68% delayed. Thus, for gaseous diffusion in "real," typically tapered pores the transport limitation is more serious than considered so far.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1404-1412
Number of pages9
JournalAIChE Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Analytical transport model
  • Classical Maxwell-Stefan equations
  • Experiments on conical tubes
  • Gas multicomponent diffusion
  • Two-bulb diffusion experiment

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