An experimental study has been conducted to provide a data base for drying packed beds of granular, nonhygroscopic materials. Experimental results for drying rate, saturation distribution, temperature distribution, and surface saturation are reported for drying glass beads under carefully documented drying conditions. Capillary pressure for both imbibition and drainage was measured for the glass beads, whose size ranged from 65 μm to 450 μm. The drying results demonstrate that, contrary to available model predictions, porous materials do not necessarily exhibit saturation gradients that always increase with distance from the drying surface. Under certain conditions the capillary potential is sufficient to create an internal drying front. The measurements of surface saturation are the first to be reported. They are utilized to speculate on the reasons for the failure of drying models to compare well with experiment without adjusting the convective heat or mass transfer coefficients.

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