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Improving mass-transfer-limited reactions

By Chemical Engineering |

The step-by-step procedure described here can help operators to optimize reactor operation and output Engineers throughout the chemical process industries (CPI) commonly encounter situations where different materials have to be contacted inside a reactor to drive the chemical transformations needed to produce the required products. Reactors perform several important functions, such as bringing the reacting species into intimate contact, providing an appropriate environment to drive the desired reactions in terms of temperature, pressure and concentrations, appropriate reaction time and providing the means for proper removal of product streams or byproducts or unreacted products. The reactants are often present in different phases, adding to the complexity of the system. Typical reactions, in order of increasing difficulty, may occur in the gas, liquid or solid phase, or in a combination of any two or three of these phases. Further nuances are added to the problem in cases where the solid reactant could either be catalytic or non-catalytic, or two immiscible liquid phases may be present. The stirred-tank reactor is the most commonly used type of equipment for batch or semi-batch reactions. Many well-developed tools and methods for…
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