A novel in situ measurement method of bubble sizes in bioreactors using a high speed camera

Christian Bach, Mads Orla Albæk, Ulrich Krühne, Krist V. Gernaey

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review

95 Downloads (Pure)


Mass transfer of oxygen from the gas phase to the liquid phase is the rate limiting phenomenon in many industrial aerobic fermentation processes. This phenomenon is often described by the rate constant kLa, which remains a key performance indicator for scale up and general operation of fermentation processes. The attributing variables to the rate constant, the mass transfer resistance kL and interfacial surface area a, are however very rarely individually identifiable from standard experimental analysis. This co-dependency of the variables on the rate constant limits the understanding of how process conditions affect the mass transfer rate, and hence a tool for identifying them individually is required. Available correlations for these variables are predominantly system dependent and therefore not necessarily valid in the process of interest. Currently available measurement techniques to identify bubble size require knowledge or assumptions regarding the gas flow direction to deduce the bubble size.
An optical method for determining the interfacial surface area, based on bubble size identification has been developed using a high speed camera and an endoscope. This novel method has been applied to bioreactors at different conditions in terms of power input, gas flow rate and viscosity. This in situ measurement illustrates the effect of process conditions on the size of the bubbles. The information on bubble sizes at different conditions is a valuable input to mechanistic models regarding gas-liquid mass transfer, for example computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models, in which the bubble size is a key input parameter.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2017
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventInternational Symposium on Mixing in Industrial Processes IX - Birmingham, United Kingdom
Duration: 25 Jun 201728 Jun 2017


ConferenceInternational Symposium on Mixing in Industrial Processes IX
CountryUnited Kingdom
Internet address

Cite this

Bach, C., Albæk, M. O., Krühne, U., & Gernaey, K. V. (2017). A novel in situ measurement method of bubble sizes in bioreactors using a high speed camera. Abstract from International Symposium on Mixing in Industrial Processes IX, Birmingham, United Kingdom.