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For this process, the Smith Onion Model was used to interpret the issues, decisions and alternatives

that can be used for the betterment of the process. This is due to the fact that

Issues

Following the Smith Onion Model, there are steps that need to be followed in order to synthesize a
chemical plant process. These stages shows a systematically a

Chemistry

The production of ally chloride follows a fairly simple process, that is to react chlorine and
propylene at a high temperature and through a free radical mechanism a substitution process occurs
in which a chlorine atom would substitute an allylic hydrogen in propylene in order to form allyl
chloride (allykneu). The figure below shows the reaction between propylene and chlorine.

Reaction Between propylene and chlorine.

One of the fundamental issues that arise from this production method is temperature. The
optimal temperature in which the reaction between propylene and chlorine would obtain a high
yield of allyl chloride is in between 300 – 550 oC (G malandrino). If the reaction temperature is
below 200 o C the product would be predominantly 1,2- dichloropropane (G malandrino 7-11). At an
estimated temperature above 500 oC the process would be restricted by pyrolysis reaction that
would lower the conversion and also increase the fouling factor (G malandrino). The increase in
fouling factor is due to the increase in the production of carbon due to high temperature (). Higher
temperature would result in thermal collapse.

The productions of by-products are also temperature dependant, at a temperature below


400 C the process favours dihalogenated by-products while temperature above 500 oC favours the
o

deconstruction of allyl chloride to produce excessive carbons and other products ().

Therefore, when it comes to selecting the right reaction temperature for this process a few
things needs to be considered in which the temperature needs to be above 200 oC in order to have a
predominant product of allyl chloride. The upper limit temperature of the reaction is restricted by
pyrolysis which would decrease the conversion and increase the fouling factor which is caused by
the excess production of carbon (). Depending on which by-products are more valuable there is
another restricting temperature cap which is 400 oC.

Other than temperature, another issue that affects the production of allyl chloride is the ratio of
between the reactants. In order to lower the production of by-products propylene needs to be in
excess when reacting with chlorine (). Despite decreasing the formation of by-products the excess
propylene reacted would incur a higher cost, thus making this issue highly dependent on the
economic considerations which include the demand for the by-products. Some of the by-products
such as 1,3- dichloropropene is sold as a soil fumigant () while other hard to separate by-products is
used as source of heat for heating up the process ().

Another issue is in terms of pressure but due to the fact that this process is a low pressure process
hence pressure is not really a main issue

Another issue is the residence time in which the process needs to occur in a span of a few seconds in
order to avoid secondary reaction of allyl chloride.

Reactor

For the reactor the issues that need to be addressed are the reaction temperature, the ratio of
propylene to chlorine, mixing and the residence time. The reactor selection needs to encompass
these four issues. In terms of temperature, the reactor temperature needs to be below the optimal
reaction temperature as the reaction is exothermic; hence the usual reactor temperature would be
below the optimal reaction temperature (500 – 510 oC). When it comes to controlling the reaction
temperature the feeds are usually preheated to a certain temperature. In the industry only the
propylene is pre-heated as pre-heating chlorine would incur a substantial amount of cost in order to
prevent chlorine fire. The propylene is pre-heated in order to decrease the amount of time needed
for the feed streams to reach the optimal reaction temperature.

It is known that the production of this reaction is highly dependent on the temperature and even at
the optimal temperature there are quite a percentage of by-products produced. At the optimal
temperature the production of carbon is quite small but over time this product would latch onto the
surface of the reactor and plug the thermal chlorination reactor. This build-up of carbon would then
cause the fouling factor to increase which would then decrease the conversion of the reactants into
products. The production would have to be shut off every few weeks in order to clean the reactor so
that the yield for the reactor is not affected negatively ().

The residence time for the reactor inside the reactor should be low but this is not a problem when it
comes to this reaction as at high temperature the chlorine has finished reacting completely after 1-3
seconds (). However, in the case that the residence time is high the reaction may lead to thermal
decomposition which contributes to the increase in production of carbon products ().

Another factor is good mixing, without a reactor that has good mixing the presence of hot spots
throughout the reactor would result in the carbon build up inside the reactor which would plug the
thermal chlorination reactor which would then lead to an increased in the amount of undesired by-
products. The undesired carbonaceous material stays inside the effluent and these materials are
nearly impossible to be remove ().
Separation

For the separation unit the issue lies in separating allyl chloride from the useful as well as the
useless by-products in order to increase its purity. Bozalis et al (1982), states that in order to
separate

Heat Recovery

Utilities
Decisions made
Alternatives

Temperature control

Carbon build up- Two parallel reactor chain

- Alternate operating two chains

Good mixing – use a CSTR connected to a PFR in order to create a good mixing