The impact of flow distribution on column performance: a computational fluid dynamics study.

Research paper by Wim W Smits, Sander S Deridder, Gert G Desmet

Indexed on: 03 Dec '14Published on: 03 Dec '14Published in: Journal of Chromatography A


In this manuscript, the band broadening contribution of a generic flow distributor and collector has been calculated using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). The effects of distributor design and operating conditions on distributor performance have been studied. The non uniform flow fields in the distributor cause band deformation and an increase in volumetric band variance (σv(2)). This volumetric band variance was calculated to be about 0.2 μl(2) at the inlet of a 4.6 mm ID column and 0.3 μl(2) at the outlet for a flow rate of 2 ml/min. For a 2.1 mm column the volumetric band variance is about 0.002 μl(2) for a flow rate of 0.41 ml/min. For current column performance the measured contributions are negligible in practice, probably because designs have been empirically improved together with improving column performance. None the less, the simulations show that bad distributor design can be detrimental for column performance.