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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter August 6, 2012

Residence Time Distribution Determination of a Continuous Stirred Tank Reactor using Computational Fluid Dynamics and its Application on the Mathematical Modeling of Styrene Polymerization

Ignacio L. Gamba EMAIL logo , Santiago Marquez Damian , Diana A. Estenoz , Norberto Nigro , Mario A. Storti and David Knoeppel

Abstract

The continuous operation of a stirred tank reactor for styrene polymerization was modeled. The proposed approach consists of an iterative procedure between two modules that considers the fluid-dynamics and kinetics respectively. The kinetic module considers a complex kinetic mechanism and is used to predict the time evolution of global variables, such as conversion and species concentrations, physicochemical properties and molecular structure characteristics of the final product. In order to obtain a 3D representation of the flow field, the simulation of the hydrodynamics of the reactor was carried out with the aid of a commercial computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software package. Because CFD is capable to predict the complete velocity distribution in a tank, it provided a good alternative to carry out residence time distribution (RTD) studies. It was found that the stimulus-response tracer method is reasonably accurate to obtain a complete RTD compared to the particle tracking method. The obtained RTD results showed a good agreement when validated with experimental data and literature information.From the estimates of the kinetic module and the RTD predictions, a statistical calculus allows the determination of the average properties at the reactor outlet. The convergence of the iterative procedure was tested and reasonable predictions were achieved for an industrial reactor.

Published Online: 2012-8-6

©2012 Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, Berlin/Boston

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