Chemical Engineering Laboratory Manual

Residence Time Distribution

EXPERIMENT NO. 2-5 RESIDENCE TIME DISTRIBUTION OBJECTIVE: The objective of this experiment is to perform a mass balance on a "tracer" to compare the actual residence time distribution of a continuous-flow stirred tank to that of an ideal (perfectly mixed) tank. NOTATION: C Co M Q V t t concentration of tracer in tank effluent (mass/vol) initial concentration of tracer in tank effluent (mass/vol) mass of water collected (mass) volumetric flow rate (vol./time) volume of tank, (volume) time (time) mean residence time (time) = V/Q

THEORY: Continuous-flow stirred tanks (Figure 5-1) are commonly used in chemical engineering practice as reactors and mixing tanks. In most applications it is customary to assume that the contents of the tank are perfectly mixed and that the composition of the exit stream is identical to the composition of the bulk liquid in the tank at any particular instant in time. The validity of this assumption is dependent upon such items as tank geometry, location of inlet and outlet, and efficiency of the tank agitator or impeller. One technique for determining how close to ideality the tank operates is to inject a pulse of a tracer into the tank, and then observe the concentration of the tracer in the effluent with respect to time. Ideally, this tracer should be injected into the feed stream while the flow is at the steady state condition. If the tank is in fact well mixed, the relationship between tracer concentration and time can be found from a material balance on the tracer in the tank over a time period ∆ t. Beginning with a general material balance,

Therefore no reaction is occurring. Continuous Stirred Tank Schematic 1. The volumetric flow rate through the reactor is constant. for any time period ∆ t. The material balance is written for time periods after injection of the tracer. The tracer is inert. 2. Tracer output = CQ ∆t Thus the material balance reduces to: (∆C)V = -CQ ∆t 1 2-28 . 4. the rate of tracer input.Chemical Engineering Laboratory Manual Residence Time Distribution Accumulation Mass of tracer of tracer = entering in tank in feed with the assumptions that: - Mass of tracer leaving in effluent - Mass of tracer consumed by reaction Figure 5-1. therefore. is zero. Accumulation = ∆ M = ( ∆ C)V 5. 3.

If the wavelength of a strong absorption is not available for the tracer. ordinary differential equation which can be easily separated and integrated. An appropriate tracer may be obtained from the Chemistry storeroom.Chemical Engineering Laboratory Manual Residence Time Distribution Dividing by ∆t and taking the limit as ∆t approaches zero we obtain dC = − CQ / V dt But V/Q is. by definition. dC C =− dt t This is a simple. it may be necessary to run a uv-visible spectrum of the tracer to identify an appropriate wavelength to use on the Spectronic 20®. 2 3 ∫ dC dt = −∫ C t 4 1 lnC − lnC o = − (t − o) t  C t ln  = −  Co  t C = C o exp( -t / t ) 5 6 7 From equation 6 it is apparent that a graph of ln (C/Co) versus t should be a straight line with a slope of . Aα C 2-28 8 . The data available from the Spectronic 20® are either absorbance or percent transmittance. 1st order. the average residence time in the tank. Since absorbance is directly proportional to concentration. t. Therefore. A convenient method is to use a colored tracer which can be measured in a Spectronic 20®. The tracer chosen should be one which is easily measured quantitatively in the tank output stream.1/ t .

The usual convention is to use the largest data value of absorbance as Ao. Ao. Prepare the Spectronic 20® measurement technique.) 9 10 PROCEDURE: 1. it will be more convenient to record absorbance for the difference samples taken. The continuous-flow tank is in the lower portion of the chemical engineering laboratory. to be used. Q. • CAUTION: Keep hands.5. Calculate t = V/Q. • Read the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) in the Chemistry Storeroom on the tracer before proceeding with the lab. 2-28 . Equation 6 can be written in terms of absorbance as shown in equation 10. 4. is just a constant and will not affect the slope of the graph of ln (A/Ao) versus t. 3. even though it may not be the actual initial value (at t =0.Chemical Engineering Laboratory Manual Residence Time Distribution or A = kC where k is a constant of proportionality. The lab assistant will assign a value of volumetric flow rate. Determine the volume of the tank by measuring the mass of water that fills the tank. 6.5 < Ao < 1.  A   kC   C t ln  = ln  = ln =−  Ao   kC o   Co  t The value of the initial absorbance. clothing and hair away from belt drive and gears. 2. fingers. 5. Safety • Safety glasses and hard hats are required when working in the lower lab. Estimate how much tracer must be injected to give an initial absorbance in the tank effluent of 0.

Calculate t from the plot of ln A/Ao versus t and discuss how closely the tank resembles an ideal stirred tank. New Jersey. 8. 388. Wiley. REPORTING: 1. Additional reading: Hill. take samples of the tank effluent.Chemical Engineering Laboratory Manual Residence Time Distribution 7. Compare the calculated t with the residence time definition ( t = V/Q). 2. Chapter 13 – Distributions of Residence Times for Chemical Reactors. Immediately after injection and at periodic times following. If they are different. 10. Check that the actual flow rate is equal to the assigned value. Chapter 11 – Deviations from Ideal Flow Conditions. 9. Prepare graphs of a) A versus t b) ln A/Ao versus t 3. Fogler. C. An Introduction to Chemical Engineering Kinetics and Reactor Design. 3rd edition. Before injecting the tracer pulse. Jr. which one is more correct? 4. 1977.. G. Inject the tracer as quickly as possible and begin timing the experiment. H. p. recording the time after injection for each sample. Use the pre-determined analytical procedure to determine the concentration of tracer in each sample. Prentice Hall. New York. 2-28 . p. Prepare the appropriate type of report assigned for this experiment following the guidelines in Appendix A. Suggest reasonable sources of error in your analysis as well as recommendations for improving the measurements. 809. 1999. Scott Elements of Chemical Reaction Engineering. establish the tank in a continuous-flow steady state operation with the agitator rotating.

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