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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter October 11, 2016

Micro-reactor for Non-catalyzed Esterification Reaction: Performance and Modeling

  • E. El Zanati , H. Abdallah EMAIL logo and G. Elnahas


Y-shape micro-reactor is designed, developed and implemented to investigate the effect of reactor miniaturization on chemical engineering kinetics, where, an esterification reaction of fatty acid (2- ethyl hexanoic acid) is considered as a case study. In order to investigate the differential change of micro-reaction conversion along the channel axis; a micro-reactor with multi-channel is designed in a manner that enables collecting the samples. The kinetics of esterification reaction of ethanol and fatty acid was explored under various operating conditions; Molar Ratio (MR) of ethanol to fatty acid at temperatures 25–65 °C. The conversion reached almost 99.3 % after 30 s at MR 4:1 and 25 °C. Steady and unsteady state axial dispersion mathematical models were developed; the latter approach resulted in fair agreement with the experimental results.



The mass flux of component i (mol/cm2.s).


The diffusivity of component i (cm2/s).


The concentration of component i (mol/cm3).


The length of micro-channel (cm).


The number of moles of i transferred by convection, mol;


The velocity of flow, cm/s.


Peclet number


The equilibrium reaction constant at T=298 K


The initial value of the equilibrium constant.


The difference between the Gibbs free energy of products and reactants, kJ/mol


The difference between the heat of formation of product and reactants, kJ/mol


The reaction temperature; oK.


The universal gas constant, 0.008314 kJ mol–1 K–1


The reaction conversion

Annex (A)

The esterification reaction is represented by:


where; A is the Alcohol, B is the organic acid, E is the ester and W is the water. At equilibrium k (forward reaction constant), kb (backward reaction constant) is equal k/Kquilibrium (backward reaction constant). Therefore,


Solve the quadratic equation 2X1X=1KeqX2 for X at MR 2:1.




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Published Online: 2016-10-11
Published in Print: 2017-04-01

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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