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Numerous models for simulating the flow and transport in packed beds have been proposed in the literature with few reported applications. In this paper, several turbulence models for porous media are applied to the gas flow through a randomly packed bed and are examined by means of a parametric study against some published experimental data. These models predict widely different turbulent eddy viscosity. The analysis also indicates that deficiencies exist in the formulation of some model equations and selection of a suitable turbulence model is important. With this realization, residence time distribution and velocity distribution are then simulated by considering a radial profile of porosity and turbulence induced dispersion, and the results are in good agreement with the available experimental data. © 2006 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH and Co. KGaA, Weinheim.