Chemical reactor

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In chemical engineering, chemical reactors are vessels designed to contain chemical reactions. The design of a chemical reactor deals with multiple aspects of chemical engineering. Chemical engineers design reactors to maximize net present value for the given reaction. Designers ensure that the reaction proceeds with the highest efficiency towards the desired output product, producing the highest yield of product while requiring the least amount of money to purchase and operate. Normal operating expenses include energy input, energy removal, raw material costs, labor, etc. Energy changes can come in the form of heating or cooling, pumping to increase pressure, frictional pressure loss (such as pressure drop across a 90o elbow or an orifice plate), agitation, etc. Chemical reaction engineering is the branch of chemical engineering which deals with chemical reactors and their design, especially by application of chemical kinetics.

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1 Overview 2 Types 2.1 CSTR (Continuous Stirred-Tank Reactor) 2.2 PFR(Plug Flow Reactor) 2.3 Semi-batch reactor 2.4 Catalytic reactor 3 See also 4 External links

5 References


Cut-away view of a stirred-tank chemical reactor with a cooling jacket

Cn) Heat transfer coefficients (h. but can also be operated in atransient state. continuous stirred-tank reactor model (CSTR). When a reactor is first brought back into operation (after maintenance or inoperation) it would be considered to be in a transient state. Both types of reactors may also accommodate one or more solids (reagents. lower case Greek tau) Volume (V) Temperature (T) Pressure (P) Concentrations of chemical species (C1. .Chemical reactor with half coils wrapped around it There are a couple main basic vessel types:   A tank A pipe or tubular reactor Both types can be used as continuous reactors or batch reactors. U) A chemical reactor. see Fluidized bed reactor. C3. typically tubular reactor. as the many assumptions of the simpler models are not valid. Furthermore. but the reagents and products are typically liquids and gases.. C2. or inert materials). whether they are batch. catalytic reactors require separate treatment. could be a packed bed. reactors are run at steady-state. CST. A chemical reactor may also be a fluidized bed. The packing inside the bed may havecatalyst to catalyze the chemical reaction. or PF reactors. where key process variables change with time. Key process variables include       Residence time (τ.. There are three main basic models used to estimate the most important process variables of different chemical reactors:    batch reactor model (batch). . catalyst. and plug flow reactor model (PFR). Most commonly.

or endothermic. In these cases. Simply dividing the volume of the tank by the average volumetric flow rate through the tank gives theresidence time. . The impeller stirs the reagents to ensure proper mixing. meaning giving off heat. Also note the baffle at the bottom of the image which also helps in mixing. Note the impeller (or agitator) blades on the shaft for mixing. one or more fluid reagents are introduced into a tank reactor equipped with an impeller while the reactor effluent is removed.Chemical reactions occurring in a reactor may be exothermic.  It can be seen that an infinite number of infinitely small CSTRs operating in series would be equivalent to a PFR. the sizes of the reactors may be varied in order to minimize the total capital investment required to implement the process. the flow rate in must equal the mass flow rate out. otherwise the tank will overflow or go empty (transient state). it is economically beneficial to operate several CSTRs in series. A chemical reactor vessel may have a cooling or heating jacket or cooling or heating coils (tubes) wrapped around the outside of its vessel wall to cool down or heat up the contents. or the average amount of time a discrete quantity of reagent spends inside the tank. Using chemical kinetics. the reaction's expected percent completion can be calculated. for example. Often. This allows. the first CSTR to operate at a higher reagent concentration and therefore a higher reaction rate.   The reaction proceeds at the reaction rate associated with the final (output) concentration. Check of a condition of the case. In a CSTR. While the reactor is in a transient state the model equation must be derived from the differential mass and energy balances. Some important aspects of the CSTR:  At steady-state. meaning absorbing heat. [edit]Types [edit]CSTR (Continuous Stirred-Tank Reactor) Main article: Continuous stirred-tank reactor Reactor CSTR.

often follows a chemical reactor in order to separate any remaining reagents or byproducts from the desired product. or change in chemical species occurs).The behavior of a CSTR is often approximated or modeled by that of a Continuous Ideally Stirred-Tank Reactor (CISTR). In this type of reactor. The equilibrium point for most systems is less than 100% complete. For this reason a separation process. a higher efficiency may be obtained. one or more fluid reagents arepumped through a pipe or tube. such as in the Haber process. [edit]PFR(Plug Flow Reactor) Simple diagram illustrating plug flow reactor model Main article: Plug flow reactor model In a PFR. the changing reaction rate creates agradient with respect to distance traversed. in particular in industrial size reactors.  A PFR typically has a higher efficiency than a CSTR of the same volume. The chemical reaction proceeds as the reagents travel through the PFR. Some important aspects of the PFR:   All calculations performed with PFRs assume no upstream or downstream mixing. at the inlet to the PFR the rate is very high. a reaction will proceed to a higher percentage completion in a PFR than in a CSTR. All calculations performed with CISTRs assume perfect mixing. but as the concentrations of the reagents decrease and the concentration of the product(s) increases the reaction rate slows. given the same space-time. For most chemical reactions. That is. The rate of reaction decreases as the percent completion increases until the point where the system reaches dynamic equilibrium (no net reaction. These reagents may sometimes be reused at the beginning of the process. The CISTR model is often used to simplify engineering calculations and can be used to describe research reactors. as implied by the term "plug flow". or the size and cost of the PFR may be reduced. In this way. Reagents may be introduced into the PFR at locations in the reactor other than the inlet. . If the residence time is 5-10 times the mixing time. In practice it can only be approached. such as distillation. it is impossible for the reaction to proceed to 100% completion. this approximation is valid for engineering purposes.

Perfect mixing cannot be assumed. Therefore. driving a reaction of gas with a liquid is usually difficult. their analysis requires more complicated treatment. since the gas bubbles off. efficiency of diffusion of reagents in and products out. allowing plug flow to be achieved under laminar flowconditions with the net flow Reynolds number just about 100. is loaded with a batch. and as the chemical binding to the catalyst is also a chemical reaction. Furthermore. for example. this is proportional to the exposed area. Particularly in high-temperature petrochemical processes. A fermenter.Continuous oscillatory baffled reactor (COBR) is a tubular plug flow reactor. which constantly produces carbon dioxide. The behavior of the catalyst is also a consideration. A common example of a catalytic reactor is the catalytic converter following an engine. and turbulent mixing or lack thereof. catalysts are deactivated by sintering. coking. a catalytic reaction pathway is often multi-step with intermediates that are chemically bound to the catalyst. which has to be removed continuously. The rate of a catalytic reaction is proportional to the amount of catalyst the reagents contact. . The mixing in COBR is achieved by the combination of fluid oscillation and orifice baffles. With a solid phase catalyst and fluid phase reagents. it may affect the kinetics. and similar processes. Analogously. a continuous feed of gas is injected into the batch of a liquid.]] [edit]Semi-batch reactor A semi-batch reactor is operated with both continuous and batch inputs and outputs. [edit]Catalytic reactor Although catalytic reactors are often implemented as plug flow reactors.One chemical reactant is charged to the vessel and a second chemical is added slowly.

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