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UEMK 3153 Chemical Reaction Engineering II

Date: 19 - 28 July 2017

Tutor-in-charge: Yap Yeow Hong

Tutorial No.4

Lesson 4: Design of Reactors

1. Compare the characteristics of a slurry reactor to that of fluidized bed reactor.

Please refer to your lecture note

2. What are the main problems encountered in a fixed bed reactor?

Please refer to your lecture note for shortcomings of fixed bed reactor

3. You are in charge of a project to select the most suitable reactor configuration for a new
process. Devise a strategy for this task.

Please refer to your lecture note on strategies for multiphase reactor

4. Describe how Hatta number can be used to help select a multiphase reactor.

Hatta number can be used to determine whether surface area between liquid and
gas needs to be maximized for higher reaction rate. For example, high Hatta
number implies diffusion through liquid film is rate limiting. Therefore, a system
will benefit if it is a spray tower or trickle bed reactor, which has low beta.

5. Hydrogenation of fatty acids is first order with respect to concentration of hydrogen. The
nickel catalyst used for hydrogenation possesses characteristics as shown below.
Determine a reactor system that is appropriate for this reaction.

Catalyst characteristics at reaction condition:

Effective diffusivity of hydrogen: 1x10-7 m2/s
Specific rate constant: 1x10-5 m/s
Bulk density: 2000 kg/m3
Internal surface area: 120 m2/g
Deactivation rate: achieving 50% initial activity in the range of hours
Specific external surface area, ac: 1500 m2/m3

Reaction characteristics:
Hatta number: 10
Temperature: 190oC
Pressure: 25 bar


Thiele modulus:
2 6 g
m 2 -5 m

r rS k
2 (110 -5
m )

2 10 3

fn2 = p c A = = 2.4
Deff -7 m

Internal effectiveness factor:

h= (fn coth fn -1)

Internal effectiveness factor vs. particle size


Internal effectiveness factor





0.00E+00 2.00E-05 4.00E-05 6.00E-05 8.00E-05 1.00E-04 1.20E-04
Particle size

We decide 10 microns is the right size for high internal effectiveness factor
Hatta number = 10 implies diffusion through gas-liquid film is rate limiting,
therefore system that promotes gas absorption is required. This means slurry
reactor would be the choice, which also comes with the following advantages:
ability to separate the catalyst that is deactivated quickly
ability to use small catalyst particles (10 microns) suspended in the fatty
ability to allow high mass transfer (20 m/s) if impeller and venturi jet is

An alternative would be the venturi jet reactor, which can generate high mass
transfer coefficient.

6. The hydrogenation of an unsaturated organic is to be carried out in a trickle bed reactor

packed with 0.4-cm-diameter spherical catalyst particles.

The reaction in the pellet is first-order in both hydrogen and the organic. Hydrogen and
nitrogen are fed in equimolar portions at a total pressure of 2 atm. The reactor diameter is
to be 1.0 m. It is proposed to operate at a superficial liquid mass velocity of 5 kg/m2.s and
a total gas flow rate of 36 mol/s. As a first approximation assume that the concentration
of organic is constant and the pseudo-first-order specific reaction rate is 2.5 x 10-5
m3/kgcat.s at 400 K.

(a) For each transport step, determine its fraction of the total resistance to mass transport
and reaction
(b) Calculate the catalyst weight necessary to achieve 55% conversion of the hydrogen.
(c) If 55% conversion could not be obtained for the operating conditions specified, what
should the operating conditions be to obtain this conversion?


7. Based on Fogler Question 12-21: The hydrogenation of 2-butyne-1,4-diol to butenediol
is to be carried out in a slurry reactor using a palladium-based catalyst. The reaction is
first order in hydrogen and in diol. The initial concentration of diol is 2.5 kmol/m 3. Pure
hydrogen is bubbled through the reactor at a pressure of 35 atm at 35oC. The equilibrium
hydrogen solubility at these conditions is 0.01 kmol/m3. And the specific reaction rate is
0.048 m6/kg.kmol.s The catalyst charge is 0.1 kg/m3 with a particle size of 0.01 cm and
pellet density of 1500 kg/m3.

a) Calculate the percent of the overall resistance contributed by each of the transport
b) Plot the conversion as a function of time up to 95%
c) How could the reaction time be reduced?

Additional information:

diffusivity: 10-9 m2/s for H2 in organics

kbab: 0.3 s-1
kc: 0.005 cm/s for transfer from liquid onto external surface
tortuosity = 1.5
constriction = 0.8
conversion of diol is 0.8

8. Based on Fogler Question 12-20: The catalytic hydrogenation of methyl linoleate to
methyl oleate was carried out in a libaratory-scale slurry reactor in which hydrogen gas
was bubbled up through the liquid containing spherical catalyst pellets. The pellet density
is 2 g/cm3. The following experiments were carried out at 25oC.
Run H2 partial H2 solubility Catalyst Catalyst H2 reaction rate
pressure (atm) (kmol/m3) size (m) charge (kg/m3) (kmol/m3 s)
1 3 0.007 12 3.0 0.014
2 18 0.042 50 0.5 0.014
3 3 0.007 50 1.5 0.007

a) It has been suggested that the overall reaction rate can be enhanced by increasing the
agitation, decreasing the particle size, and installing a more efficient sparger. With
which, if any, of these recommendations do you agree? Are there other ways that the
overall reaction rate of reaction might be increased. Support your decision with
b) Is it possible to determine the effectiveness factor from the data above? If so, what is
c) For economical reasons concerning the entrainment of small solid catalyst particles in
the liquid, it is proposed to use particles an order of magnitude larger. The following
data were obtained from these particles at 25oC.

Run H2 partial H2 solubility Catalyst Catalyst H2 reaction rate

pressure (atm) (kmol/m3) size (m) charge (kg/m3) (kmol/m3 s)
4 3 0.007 750 2.0 0.0023

The Thiele modulus is 9.0 for the 750-m particle size in Run 4. Determine (if
possible) the external mass transfer coefficient, k. and the percent (of overall) of the
external mass transfer resistance to the catalyst pellet.