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ERT 208

(part 2)
School of bioprocess engineering
DEFINE conversion and REWRITE all the
balance equation in term of conversion
EVALUATE the size of CSTR & PFR based on
DETERMINE the reactor volume necessary
to achieved a specified conversion,
COMPARE CSTRs & PFRs and overall
conversion for reactor arranged in series.
IDENTIFY the best arrangement of reactors
in series.
Reactors are connected in series so that the
exit stream of one reactor is the feed stream
for another reactor.

Therefore, conversion is defined in terms

of location at a point downstream
rather than with respect to any single
So that Conversion, X is the total number of
moles of A that have reacted up to that point per
mole of A fed to the first reactor.

For reactors in series,

But, the definition of conversion can only be used when
the feed stream only enters the first reactor in the series &
no side streams either fed or withdrawn.

The molar flow rate of A at point i = moles of A

fed to the first reactor minus all moles of A
reacted up to point i.
For example:

X1 at point i=1 is the conversion achieved in the

X2 at point i=2 is the total conversion achieved at
this point in PFR and CSTR.
X3 at point i=3 is the total conversion achieved
by all three reactors (PFR, CSTR & PFR).
Consider 3 different schemes of
reactors in series:
1) Two CSTRs
2) Two PFRs
3) Combination of PFRs & CSTRs
1) CSTR in series (2 CSTRs)
Consider 2 CSTRs in series:
The rate of disappearance of A is rA1 at conversion X1.
A mole balance on reactor 1 gives:

Equation 1

The molar flow rate of A at points 1 is:

Equation 2

# Combining Equation 1 & 2 then rearrange,

So that
The rate of disappearance of A, rA2 is evaluated at the
conversion of the exit stream of reactor 2, X2.
A mole balance on reactor 2 gives:

Equation 3

The molar flow rate of A at points 2 is:

Equation 4

# Combining Equation 2, 3 & 4 then rearrange,

Used (X2X1) to calculate V2

So that at X2.
Example 2.5
(Comparing Volumes for CSTRs in Series)

For the 2 CSTR in series, 40% conversion is achieved

in the first reactor. What is the volume of each of
the two reactors necessary to achieve 80% overall
conversion of the entering species A?
Used previous data:
From experiment
(Temp. 500 K (440 X 0.0 0.1 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.7 0.8
F), total -rA 0.45 0.37 0.30 0.195 0.113 0.079 0.05
pressure=830 kPa
(8.2 atm) & pure A
used as reactant.
1st method Answer
Used previous data & calculated:

2nd method Shade the area for Levenspiel Plot
For CSTRs in series, the rate rA1 is evaluated at X1 = 0.4
and rate rA2 is evaluated at X2 = 0.8.

The total volume for 2 reactors in series:

By comparison, the volume necessary to achieve

80% conversion in one CSTR (Example 2.2):

Notice The sum of 2 CSTRs reactor volume in

series (4020 dm3) < the volume of one CSTR (6400
dm3) to achieve the same conversion, 80%.
Model a large number of CSTRs in series = a PFR
We want to compare the Total Volume of all the
CSTRs with the volume of one PFR for the same
conversion, 80%.

Conclusion We can model a PFR with a large number of

CSTRs in series. This concept of using many CSTRs in series to
model a PFR will be used to model catalysts decay in Packed
Bed Reator/ transient heat effect in PFRs.
2) PFRs in series (2 PFRs)
Consider 2 CSTRs in series:
The equation for two PFR in series:

Total reactor
volume for 2 PFR
in series = Reactor
volume for one
Example 2.6
(Sizing PFRs in Series)
Use the data below to calculate the reactor volumes V1 and
V2 for PFRs in series (shown below) when the intermediate
conversion is 40 % and final conversion is 80 %.The entering
molar flow rate is 0.4 mol/s.
There are 2 method to solve PFR:
Answer 1) Use the Simpsons rule
2) Shade the area for Levenspiel Plot
1st method
Use the simpsons three point rule:
Note: This volume same with a single PFR to achieve 80 %
conversion in Example 2-4
3) Combinations of CSTRs and PFRs in Series
Consider the dimerization reaction of propylene
into isohexanes.

A schematic of the industrial reactor

The Industrial reactors to dimerize system
propylene into isohexanes (2 CSTRs &
one PFR in series)
Assume the reaction carried out in this reactor follows
curve given by Table 2-3

The volume of the first two CSTRs in series are (Example 2-5):
1st method
2nd method: (Shade the area for Levenspiel Plot)
Example 2.7
(An Adiabatic Liquid Phase Isomerization)
The isomerization of butane was done adiabatically in liquid
phase and the data below are obtained.

Calculate the volume of each reactors for an entering molar

flow rate of n-butane of 50 kmol/hr.

Comparing the CSTR & PFR reactor volumes & reactor sequencing

Based on the graph: (Usually for adiabatic reaction)

1) The area under the curve between X = 0 and X = 0.2

PFR Area > Rectangular Area (CSTR)

2) The area under the curve between X = 0.6 and X = 0.65

Rectangular Area (CSTR) > PFR Area
Which reactor should go first to
give the highest overall conversion?

It depends on:
1) the shape of Levenspiel plots (FAO/-rA) versus X
2) The relative reactor sizes
Suppose a Levenspiel plot (FAO/-rA) versus X will be given for
three reactors volumes in series VCSTR1 = 3 m3, VCSTR2 = 2
m3 & VPFR = 1.2 m3. Then find the highest possible

The methods we used to calculate reactor volumes
all apply, except the procedure is reversed & a
trial-and-error solution is needed to find the exit
overall conversion from each reactor.
The data of the reaction rate as a function of conversion (Experiment)

Know the molar flow rate to the reactor, FAO

Can calculated the reactor volume necessary to achieve a specified conversion

The reaction rate does not depends on CONVERSION only, it also affected by the initial

The data obtained in the laboratory (presented in all Example) as rA

as a function of X are useful ONLY in the design of full-scale reactor that
are to be operated at the identical conditions as the laboratory
experiments (temp., pressure, initial reactant concentration). But such
circumstances are seldom encountered & we must revert to the
methods to obtain rA as a function of X (CHAPTER 3).
Some further Defination
Space Time,
Dividing reactor volume
by the volumetric flow
rate entering the reactor.

Is the time necessary to process one reactor

volume of fluid based on entrance condition.

The time it takes for fluid to enter the reactor


Also known as the holding time or mean

residence time.
For Example, consider the tubular reactor 20 m long & 0.2
m3 in volume.

If the volumetric flow rate were 0.01 m3/s, so that:

Means that, it would take 20 s for the fluid at point a to move

to point b, which corresponds to a space time of 20 s.
Table 2-4 show a range of typical processing time in
term of the space time for industrial reactor.
Space Velocity, SV

SV as the reciprocal of the space time

The 2 space velocities commonly used in industry are:

1) Liquid-hourly space velocity

2) Gas-hourly space velocity

Example 2.8
(Reactor Space Times & space Velocities)

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