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A note on the connection between a series of CMFRs and PFRs

# A note on the connection between a series of CMFRs and PFRs

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An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards (International Programme) Competition by Colin Meyer. Originally submitted for Environmental Engineering at University of California, Berkeley, with lecturer Evan Variano in the category of Engineering & Mechanical Sciences
An essay for the 2012 Undergraduate Awards (International Programme) Competition by Colin Meyer. Originally submitted for Environmental Engineering at University of California, Berkeley, with lecturer Evan Variano in the category of Engineering & Mechanical Sciences

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10/27/2013

A note on the connection between a series of CMFRs and PFRs
Central to water puriﬁcation and waste mitigation is the removal of contaminants throughdilution as well as chemical reactions. Two of the most prevalent technologies are the CompletelyMixed Flow Reactor (CMFR) and the Plug Flow Reactor (PFR). In many environmental andchemical engineering texts, it is stated the is a connection between the two: a PFR is inﬁnitelymany CMFRs in series. The objective of this note is to prove this claim.
1 Reactor Models
For the series of CMFR’s, the steady state concentration for a ﬁrst order reaction within the reactorcan be found as:
i
+1
=
i
1 +
k
V  Q
(1)Where
i
is the concentration coming into reactor
i
,
i
+1
is the concentration leaving reactor
i
and entering reactor
i
+ 1,
V
is the volume of the individual reactor, such that the total volume,
V
=
n
×
V
, where
n
is the number of reactors, and
Q
is the constant ﬂow rate through thereactors. Because the reactors are strung together in the manner described above, the ratio of theoutlet concentration
n
to the inlet concentration
1
is the product of all of the steady state termsbetween them. As in:
n
1
=
n
i
=1
i
+1
i
=
n
i
=1
11 +
k
V
nQ
=
11 +
k
V
nQ
n
(2)A Plug Flow Reactor can be imagined as a pipe where no mixing occurs in the lateral direction.The steady state concentration within the reactor can found by considering a diﬀerential volumeslice and letting ∆
x
shrink to zero, as in:
dC dx
=
r
(3)With
as the velocity of ﬂow and
r
is the rate of the reaction taking place in the PFR. For thisexample,
r
=
kC
. This can solved by separation of variables, as:

(
x
)
0
dC
=

x
0
kdx
(4)At
x
=
L
, we have:
(
L
)
0
=
e
k
L
(5)Thus, our goal is to demonstrate that as
n
, equation 2 converges to equation 5.1

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