# Ideal reactors

• Ideal reactors are useful models which are easy to treat (it is easy to find their performance equation). One of them usually represents the best way of contacting the reactants and for this reason we often try to design real reactors so that their flows approach these ideals. When the behaviour of real reactors deviates from that of ideal reactors, it can be described by appropriate combination of ideal reactors (modelling of real reactors with ideal reactors).

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Outline
• Ideal reactor types: batch reactor (BR), continuously stirred tank reactor (CSTR), plug flow reactor (PFR) Application of continuous/discontinuous reactors • Performance equations: mass (and energy) balances reaction time t for BR residence time τ for CSTR, PFR comparison between PFR and CSTR

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Plug Flow Reactor (PFR) [German: Strömungsrohrreaktor (IR)] IN OUT 3 . Batch Reactor (BR) [German: Absatzweiser Rührkessel (AIK) diskontinuierlich betriebener Rührkesselreaktor] 2.Ideal reactor types 1. Continuously operated Stirred Tank Reactor (CSTR) [German: KontinuierlicherDurchflußrührkessel (KIK) kontinuierlich betriebener Rührkesselreaktor] 3.

Batch reactor (BR) • The BR operates in a discontinuous way: the reactants and any additional substances (catalyst. well mixed and left to react for a certain period. the composition in the reactor changes continuously: the BR operates in a unsteady mode with respect to time. • In the course of this process. • At any instant the composition throughout the reactor is uniform: the BR operates in a steady mode with respect to space. 4 . solvent etc. The resultant mixture is then discharged.) are loaded into the reactor.

Operation mode – ideal BR A → products If the reaction is 1st (irreversible unimolecular reaction) order: d [ A] 1 rA = − = k [ A] dt [A0] [A] [AE] 0 [A] = [A0 ]e − kt [A0] [A] [AE] t=tE t 0 Steady-state operation with respect to position t=0 t=tE x Unsteady-state operation with respect to time 5 .

Operation mode – ideal BR c0 c0 c0 t0 steady mode with respect to position c1 c1 c1 t1 c2 c2 c2 t2 unsteady mode with respect to time 6 .

7 . 100% of backmixing). the composition in the reactor does not change: the CSTR operates in a steady mode with respect to time. • At any instant the composition throughout the reactor is uniform: the CSTR operates in a steady mode with respect to space.Continuously operated stirred tank reactor (CSTR) • The CSTR operates in a continuous way: the reactants are continuously fed into the reactor and products are continuously drawn from the reactor. The content of the reactor is well stirred so that concentration and temperature are uniform throughout (they correspond to those of the exit stream. • In the course of this process.

Operation mode – ideal CSTR [A0] [A0] [AE] 0 Steady-state operation with respect to time [AE] t 0 Steady-state operation with respect to position t x In a CSTR the composition in the reactor is always that of the exit stream. 8 .

Operation mode – ideal CSTR ce ce ce t0 steady mode with respect to position ce ce ce t1 ce ce ce t2 steady mode with respect to time 9 .

There may be lateral mixing but no mixing or diffusion along the flow path (0% of backmixing).Plug flow reactor (PFR) • The PFR operates in a continuous way: OUT the reactants are continuously fed into IN the reactor and products are continuously drawn from the reactor. 10 . in any point of the reactor the composition does not change: the PFR operates in a steady mode with respect to time. The flow of fluid through the reactor is orderly with no element of fluid overtaking or mixing with any other element ahead or behind. • In the course of this process. • At any instant the composition throughout the reactor varies from point to point: the PFR operates in a unsteady mode with respect to space.

Operation mode – ideal PFR [A0] [A] [AE] 0 Steady-state operation with respect to time x=0 [A0] [A] x=L t [AE] 0 Unsteady-state operation with respect to position L x 11 .

...... = ci (te ) c0 c1 c2 c3 c4 c5 c6 c7 unsteady mode with respect to position 12 .Operation mode – ideal PFR steady mode with respect to time ci (t1 ) = ci (t 2 ) = ..

heating). unloading. present high flexibility. Disadvantages are idle periods (for loading. Therefore it is ideal for small-scale experiments (kinetics studies). dyes. Supporting equipment needs are great. cosmetic articles). Continuously operated reactors (PFR and CSTR) need reduced volume at the same production level as in the BR because the plant never runs idle. Large conversions can be reached as the reaction time may be arbitrarily long. needs little supporting equipments.Discontinuous and continuous reactor • The batch reactor (discontinuously operated reactor) is simple. however extremely good product quality control can be obtained. They are ideal for industrial purposes when large quantities of material are to be processed and when the rate of reaction is high. Industrially it is used when relatively small amounts of material are manufactured (drugs. 13 • .

conversion Χ [%] 3. rate of reaction r [mol/m3*s] 2. Volumetric feed rate v [m3/s ]. reactor volume V [m3] 4. The starting point for performance equations are material and energy balances. If any one of these quantities is unknown. it can be found from the other three.Performance equations Definition The performance equations interrelate four parameters: 1. 14 .

Material balance If the composition within the reactor is uniform (independent of position). it must be made over a differential element of volume and integrated across the whole reactor volume for the appropriate flow and concentration conditions. The resultant integrated expressions are performance equations. When the composition is not uniform. the balance may be made over the whole reactor. An equation for conservation of the masses has to be written for each component: IN = OUT + REAC + ACC 15 .

Again. depending on circumstances. IN = OUT + REAC + ACC 16 .Energy balance In nonisothermal operations energy balances must be used in conjunction with material balances. this accounting may be made either about a differential element of reactor or about the reactor as a whole.

energy balances IN = OUT + REAC + ACC Material balance Energy balance The material balance and the energy balance are tied together by their third terms because the heat effect is produced by the reaction as well. We will limit ourselves to the easy case of isothermal operations and therefore we will use only the material balance. 17 .Material .

the balance can be made in the whole reactor. rA=kCAn. with n>0 B dΧ A + (rA )V dt ΧA Area = t /cA0 ∫ dt =t = nA0 0 ∫ 0 dΧ A V (rA ) t = c A0 ∫ 0 dΧ A (rA ) t = reaction time: performance parameter for BR 18 .Performance equation .ideal BR Make the balance for the limiting component A. since the composition is uniform throughtout at any instant of time. General material balance: IN = OUT + REAC + ACC Simplification for BR: IN = OUT = 0 0 = REAC + ACC REAC (moles / time) = (rA )V ACC (moles / time) = 0 = − n A0 t dn A d [n A0 (1 − Χ A )] dΧ A = = − n A0 dt dt dt ΧA Irreversible single reaction A nth-order. In a BR.

For continuous reactors (CSTR and PFR) we should use the residence time τ = time required to process one reactor volume of feed measured at specified conditions. If these specified conditions are those of the stream entering the reactor: • τ = V/vo = (reactor volume)/(volumetric feed rate) 19 .Reaction time t and residence time τ • The reaction time t is the natural performance measure for BR (discontinuous reactor).

General material balance: IN = OUT + REAC + ACC Simplification for PFR: ACC = 0 IN = OUT + REAC IN (moles / time) = FA molar feed rate (mol/s) OUT (moles / time) = FA + dFA REAC (moles / time) = (rA )dV 0 = dFA + (rA )dV FA = FA0 (1 − X A ) V 0 = − FA0 dX A + (rA )dV Irreversible single reaction A nth-order. since the composition of the fluid varies from point to point along the flow path at any instant of time. the balance must be made for a differential element of volume dV. with n>0 B dV ∫ FA0 = 0 XA ∫ 0 dX A rA XA V τ = = = FA 0 c v c A0 A0 0 τ v0 ∫ 0 dX A rA T = c A0 τ XA Area = τ /cA0 dX A rA 20 ∫ 0 .ideal PFR Make the balance for the limiting component A. In a PFR.Performance equation . rA=kCAn.

General material balance: IN = OUT + REAC + ACC Simplification for CSTR: IN (moles / time) = FA 0 REAC (moles / time) = (rA )V 0 = − FA0 X A + (rA )V X V v = τ 0 = τ = A FA 0 c v c A0 rA A0 0 ACC = 0 IN = OUT + REAC Irreversible single reaction nth-order. A B (-rA)=kCAn. since the composition is uniform throughtout at any instant of time. with n>0 OUT (moles / time) = FA 0 (1 − X A ) Area = τ /cA0 T = c A0 τ XA rA 21 . the balance can be made in the whole reactor.Performance equation . In a CSTR.ideal CSTR Make the balance for the limiting component A.

A B (-rA)=kCAn. with n>0 τ = V/v0 • For any particular duty and for all positive reaction orders the CSTR is always larger than the PFR.Graphic comparison of ideal CSTR and PFR Irreversible single reaction nthorder. has the same performance of a PFR of 22 volume V. . with total volume V. • An arrangement of an infinite number of CSTR in series.

uni-erlangen. third edition. Wiley (1999).1 23 .1. VII. Chapter 3-4.Books • Octave Levenspiel Chemical Reaction Engineering. • http://www.htm Chapter VI.ltc1.de/htdocs/e/index.

Vocabulary Accumulation Backmixing Batch reactor Continuously operated stirred tank reactor Conversion Diffusion Energy balance Ideal reactors Material balance Mixing Modelling of real reactors Nonisothermal operations Operation mode Plug flow reactor Reaction time Real reactors Residence time Steady-state with position Steady-state with time Unsteady-state with position Unsteady-state with time Volumetric feed rate Akkumulation vollständige Rückvermischung absatzweiser Rührkessel (AIK). diskontinuierlich betriebener Rührkessel kontinuierlicher Durchflußrührkessel (KIK) kontinuierlich betriebener Rührkesselreaktor Umsatz Diffusion Energiebilanz ideale Reaktoren Stoffbilanz Vermischung Modellierung realer Reaktoren Nicht-Isothermalebetriebsweise Betriebsweise Strömungsrohrreaktor (IR Reaktionszeit reale Reaktoren Verweilzeit örtlich stationär zeitlich stationär örtlich instationär zeitlich instationär volumetrische Zuflussrate 24 .