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4 Mercosur Congress on Process Systems Engineering

TUBULAR REACTOR OF STYRENE WITH INTERNAL ANGLE

BAFFLES: REACTOR DIAMETER EFFECT

Mendoza Marín, F.L.1*, Lona, L.M.F.2, Maciel Filho, R. 1

1

Laboratorio de Otimização, Projetos e Controle Avançado – LOPCA, UNICAM P

2

Laboratorio de Análise, Simulação e Síntese de Processos Químicos – LASSPQ. UNICAMP

Abstract. Steady state modeling and simulation of emulsion homopolymerization process of styrene with

baffles into tubular reactor as static mixer are presented in this work. It is assumed cylindrical one-dimensional

model, fully developed laminar plug flow, and the model solved by finite volume method. Also it is considered

the Smith-Ewart model to estimate the monomer conversion and Arrhenius chemical kinetics as laminar finite-

rate model to compute chemical source. The objective is to model, simulate and analyze the emulsion

polymerization reactor performance with baffles for different reactor diameter. The simulation data were

validated with experimental results with a good concordance. The performance of baffled reactor leads to

obtain polymer with better properties.

1. Introduction

The fundamentals of emulsion polymerization are sufficiently well understood so that new products can be

made, and old ones re-formulated. An example is the economically and technically importance to produce a

submicron suspension of colloidally stable polymer particles or polymer solution, which is called a latex with 40-

50% by free radical mechanism of the total polymer. It is a heterogeneous reaction process in which unsaturated

monomers or monomer solutions are dispersed in a continuous phase with the aid of an emulsifier system and

polymerized with free-radical initiators. It leads to a high molecular weight polymer and high reaction rates in

many cases. It has low viscosity which is a specific advantage compared to other polymerization techniques;

viscosity reduces pumping and agitation equipment requirements and improves heat transfer to the reactor walls

(Paquet and Ray, 1994 a, b; Chern, 1995; Gilbert, 1995; Scholtens, 2002). Emulsion polymerization is a complex

heterogeneous process involving transport of monomer and other species and free radicals between aqueous and

organic phases. Compared to other heterogeneous polymerization, like suspension or precipitation, it is likely the

most complicated system; all this factor make modeling of this system very difficult (Bockhorn, 1992; Gao and

Penlidis, 2002).

The chemical processes in the chemical industry have growing operational difficulties caused by the

diversification and specification of products and investigations for alternative reactor projects, and analysis of

their behavior under static and dynamic conditions are wellcome. In conventional tubular reactor (TR) most

reaction happens towards the reactor entrance, and the variable reaction for exothermic reactions as well as the

*

To whom all correspondence should be addressed.

Address: Departamento de Processos Químicos, CP.6066, CEP 13081-970, TL. (19) 37883910, Campinas, SP, Brazil

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limitations to heat transfer near the wall makes the behavior to be very complex (Maciel Filho e Domingues, 1992;

Kiparissides, 1996, Toledo, 1999).

The emulsion homopolymerization of styrene was considered and a steady-state one -dimensional model was

developed to simulate the system. The model is written in cylindrical coordinate with the hypothesis of fully

developed laminar plug flow and solved by finite volume method (FVM). In fact, conventional tubular reactor may

have serious limitations to heat transfer leading to the obtation of product with undesired conditions. Bearing this

in mind in this work it is proposed an alternative TR based on the placement of baffles inside the reactor for

emulsion polymerization of styrene (EPS). The objective is to model, simulate and analyze the emulsion

polymerization reactor performance with baffles for different reactor diameters. The inclined baffle increase the

heat transfer and the mixture of reactants and emulsifier agents. The products were characterized with particles

number (homogeneous and heterogeneous nucleation), molecular weight distribution, polymer particles size and

polymer viscosity distribution. These results were validated with literature results under same or approximate

condition. The performance of baffled reactor leads to obtain polymer with better properties.

2. Reactional System

Conditions of test: In order to evaluate the performance of the proposed design the EPS is considered,

comparison with conventional TR is carried out. Figures 1 and 2 show the schematic of the baffled reactor. To

represent the system, a simplified one dimensional deterministic model is developed with the following

assumptions: flow along the axial direction (negligible diffusion); fully developed axial velocity of fluid flow;

polymer phase is the main locus of polymerization; particle size is monodisperse; and the monomer conversion is

estimated by Smith-Ewart model.

Reactants Products

(a) (b)

Fig. 1 (a) Schematic representation of polymerization TR with baffles and (b) Profile of polymerization TR with internal-

inclined angular baffles.

α

α θ

θ α θ θ

θ α

Fig. 2 Variation of t ransversal area of fluid flow of EPS inside TR beneath or over baffles.

E-mail: marin@lopca.feq.unicamp.br

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The work of Bataille et al. (1982) was considered as case study at 60°C with the recipe: potassium persulfate,

0.026 (mol/L); Sodium dodecyl sulfate, 0.070 (mol/L); styrene, 8.39 (mol/L) and water, 161.52 (mol/L). The

bibliographical references of the properties (Table 1) can be found in Mendoza Marín (2004).

Table 1: Physics, chemicals, mechanics, transport, rheologys, thermodynamics, geometrical properties (grid, particles, reactor,

baffles) properties of Styrene as database for simulation of EPS.

Symbol Value, Unit and Description

Na 6.02x1023(molecule/mol); Abogadro’s number; π = 3.14159

Rg 1.987 (cal/mol K); gas constant

ρp, ρm 1.25-0.0004202T (Kg/L), polymer and 0.949-0.00128(T -273.15); (Kg/L), monomer density

anrp 0.5; average number of radicals per particle

CMC 0.008 (mol/L); critical micelle concentration

CMw 0.005 (mol/L); monomer concentration in water phase (=Mw)

fi 0.5; initiator efficiency

Kcm 4πDwr micNA (1/min); rate const of aqueous phase radical capture by micelles

Kcp 4πDprpNA (1/min); rate const of radicals capture by polymer particles

Kd 1.524x1018 exp(-33320/ RgT) (1/min); rate constant of initiator decomposition

Kp 4.703x1011 exp(-9805/RgT) (L/mol min); rate const. of propag. of poly. partis

Kt 1.04619x1010 exp(-2950,45/RgT) (L/mol min); global rate const for termination

[M]P (1-φp)ρm /MWs (mol/L); monomer concentration in polymer particle

MWe 288.38 (g/mol); molecular weight of surfactant

MWi 271.3 (g/mol); molecular weight of initiator

MWs 104 (g/mol); molecular weight of styrene

ncr 5; critical chain length at which water phase radical can be absorbed

nem 60 (No.Emul/mic); number of emuls ifier molecules in a micelle

Sa 3x10-17(dm2); area covered by one molecule of emulsifier

φp, φm 0.4, volume fraction of polymer; 0.6, volume fraction of monomer

Re 5000 (laminar) and 13600 (turbulent) Reynolds number

Vin 0.27027 (laminar) and 0.7351 (turbulent) (m/min) inlet velocity in TR

Dp 1.76x10-12 (dm2/min ); (diffusivity of monomer radicals in polymer phase

Dw 1.76x10-9 (dm2/min ); (diffusivity of monomer radicals in water phase

µ 0.001 (Kg/m s); viscosity of polymer

Tin 333.15 and 363.15 (K); inlet temperatures to the reactor

∆H -16682.2 (cal/mol); polymerization reaction heat of styrene

N 51; number of nodal points

rmic , rp 27.5 (Å); radius of micelle and 275 (Å); radius of polymer

Dr, Lr 1 (m) diameter and 20 (m) length of TR

Lbr 1 (m) length of baffle separation and Nb = 6, 18 number of baffles

3. Mathematical Modeling

In order to represent the proposed reactor shown in Figures 1 and 2, with the case study of emulsion

homopolymerization of styrene the following model equation may be written.

The mechanism of EPS may schematic and brief shown as:

Initiation: 2I −

I 2 →

Kd

I − + M

→ R1

Kp

(01)

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Kcmw Kcm: Kcmd

Rrw → RrwMIC Rr + MIC ←

→ Rr MIC (02)

Diffusion in the water phase Absorption in the particle surface

Kcpw Kcp:Kcpd

Rrw → RrwPP Rr + PP←

→ Rr PP (03)

Kp

Propagation: Rr + M → Rr +1 (04)

Rn + Rm Ktc

→ Pn + m or Rn + Rm Ktd

→ Pn + Pm (05)

Principle of Mass Conservation in general form for a chemical species j reacting in a flowing fluid with varying

∂C j

∂t

( )

r

+ ∇. C j u + ∇.J j = R j (06)

where Cj is the molar concentration of species j; ∂C j / ∂t is the nonsteady-state term expressing accumulation or

r r r

depletion; ∇ is the gradient operator; ∇.u is the divergence of a vector function u ; u is the three-dimensional

r

( )

mass-average velocity vector; ∇. C j u is the transport of mass by convective flow; Jj is the molar flux vector for

species j with respect to the mass-average velocity; ∇. J j is molecular diffusion only; Rj is the total rate of change

of the amount of j because of reaction. Species j occurs in liquid phase. This equation can take in single-phase or

“homogeneous” or “pseudohomogeneous” reactors (Bird, 1960; Froment, 1990).

The generalized Laminar Finite-rate Model was applied to compute the chemical source terms (R j ). The model is

exact for laminar flames, but is generally inaccurate for turbulent flames due to highly non-linear Arrhenius

chemical kinetics. The net source of chemical species j due to reaction Rj is computed as the sum of the Arrhenius

reaction sources over the Ni reactions that the species participate in:

∏ [C j,i ]n ∏ [C ]

Ni Ni Ni Ni

Rj = ∑ R j, i = ∑ K

f ,i

fj ,i

− K b, i j ,i

n bj, i

(07)

i =1 i =1 i =1 i =1

where Rj,i is the Arrhenius molar rate of creation/destruction of species j in reaction i; Kf,i is the forward rate

constant for reaction i, Kb,i is the backward rate constant for reaction i, Ni is the number of chemical specie s in

reaction i, CJ,i is the molar concentration of each reactant and product species j in reaction i, n fj,i is the forward rate

exponent for each reactant and product species j in reaction i, nbj,i is the backward rate exponent for each reactant

and product species j in reaction i. Only non-reversible reactions was considered and the mass balance of

equations gives the different chemical source term as free radical (RRw), initiator (RI ), monomer (RM), surfactant

(RE =0, by to be inert), and polymer (RP ):

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ncr−1

− Kcp[N P ][. R]w − Kcm[MIC ][. R]w − Ktw[R]w

KpM w 2

RRw = RI − R I

KpM w + Kcp[N P ] + Ktw[R]w

(08)

Kp[M ]P N P n Kp[M ]P N P n

R I = − fiKd [I ]w ; RM = − − Kpw[M ]w [R]w ; RP = + Kpw[M ]w [R ]w (09)

N AVP N AVP

Newton’s Second Law of Momentum was applied to a small volume element moving with the fluid that is

accelerated because the forces acting over it. The motion equation in terms of τ is

r

r r

= −∇P + (∇.τ ) + ρ .g

Du

ρ (10)

Dt

r r

here g represent the body force per unit area; ρ is the density; P is the pressure; τ is the extra stress tensor, and

D/Dt is the material or substantial derivative (Bird, 1960; Tucker, 1989; Versteeg, 1998).

In the Micellar Nucleation (MN), RMN is the rate of particle formation by MN, [R]w is the formation rate of total

oligomeric radicals in the aqueous phase, It was obtained by the mechanism of EPS, steady state hypothesis and

geometric progression approximations and αm is the probability for oligomeric radical for micelle propagation

(Gilbert, 1995; Gao and Penlidis, 2002; Mendoza Marín, 2004).

d [Np ]m 1 − α mncr −1

RM N = = Kcm[MIC][. R]w ; [R]w = RI

KpMw + Kcm[MIC] + Ktw[R]w 1 − αm (11)

dt

KpMw

αm =

KpMw + Kcm [MIC ] + Ktw[R ]w + Kcp [Np ]

(12)

In the Homogeneous Nucleation (HN), RHN is the rate of particle formation by HN, [Rncr-1]w is the formation rate

of oligomeric radicals with critical chain length (ncr) in the aqueous phase, the same hypothesis adopted for [R] w

were considered and αh is the probability for an oligomeric radicals for homogeneous propagation.

d [Np]h

= KpM w [Rncr−1 ]w ; [Rncr−1 ]w =

RI

RH N = α hncr −1 (13)

dt KpMw

KpMw

αh =

KpMw + Ktw[R]w + Kcp[Np]

(14)

The polymer particle (by MN and HN) is determined with Eq. (06) written like Eq. (15) and source term as Eq.

(16):

∂C N P ∂C N P 1 ∂C N P ∂C N P ∂C N P 1 ∂ CN P ∂ CN P

2 2

+ v r + vθ + vz = D NB 1 ∂ r + + + R (15)

∂t ∂r r ∂θ ∂z r ∂r ∂r r 2 ∂θ 2 ∂z 2 NP

Kcm[MIC ]R I 1 − α mncr−1

+ RI α hncr−1

RNp = RM N + RH N =

KpMw+ Kcm[MIC ] + Ktw[R]w 1− α m (16)

The average swollen (R S)and unswollen(R) particle polymer size radius are

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1/3 −1 / 3

3 MW p CPs ρm

Rs = R = Rs

ρm + [M ]P MWm

4πρ Pφ P N A C N (17)

P

2013 1387 3

Ln( µ ) = −13,04 + + MWP0,18 3,915 X j − 5, 437 X 2j + 0,623 + X j

T

(18)

T

The Molecular Weight Distribution is determined with mechanism of EPS, discrete transfomation method and

generating function. The Cumulative Dead Polymer were number-average molecular weight (M nc ) and weight-

2aMWs Xj a + 2b 3a

M nc = M cw = MWs − X j (19)

a−b b − aX j b − a 2 (b − a )

Ln

b

The internal transversal areas over or beneath baffles were calculated where α is the increment angle from the TR

center point until total diameter, θ is the increment angle to calculate the fluid flow area of EPS beneath or over the

baffles, Avb is fluid flow variable area inside TR beneath or over baffles, Ar is the area of TR without baffles and

Afb is the fixed area inside TR over or beneath baffles (Figure 2 (a-f)).

ID (1)

αr (1) = arcSen 2 [rad] (21)

Dr

π αr(1)

θr (1) = θg (1) = π 1 − 2 [rad] (22)

180 π

Dr 2

Avb(1) = (θr (1) − Senθ r(1)) (23)

8

π 2

Afb (1) = Ar − Avb(1) = D − Avb(1) (24)

4 r

Calculus of Avb from I=2 to Number of areas beneath or over baffles (Nab)

Dvb(I ) = Dvb( I − 1) + ∆Dvb (25)

ID (I ) 2

αr ( I ) = arcSen 2 = arcSen (Dvb( I ) − 0.5 * Cr ) (26)

Dr Dr

π 2

θr (I ) = θg (I ) = π 1 − αr (I ) (27)

180 π

Dr 2

Afb (I ) = (θ r( I ) − Sen θr (I )) (28)

8

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The axial velocity such as at TR inlet, over or beneath baffles were estimated from Momentum Newton’s

Second Law, thus vin is the axial velocity at TR inlet and vb is the axial velocity over or beneath baffles , both in

isothermal condition.

µ .Re µ. Ar Re

vin = vb = (30)

ρ.Dr ρ. Avb Dr

4. Numerical Method

Finite Volume Method was used as numerical method according to Patankar (1980), Maliska (1995), and

Versteeg (1998). The Discrete approximation was applied to conservative balance of convection and source only,

e.g. the equation of particle number, Eq. (15) and source term or the overall rate of formation of particles by micelle

and homogeneous nucleation, Eq. (16).

The Linear approximation was applied to source term of Eq. (16). The Taylor’s Series method of linearization was

used to linearize Sφ:

The source-term linearization of Micellar Nucleation ( S Npm ) in Eq. (11) allows to write

Now the integral form of general transport equations in one-dimensional control volume is given by:

∂(v z Np )

∫

cv

∂z

Adz = ∫S

cv

Np Adz = ∫ (SUT − SPT .Np

cv

P )Adz (34)

( AvNp )e − ( AvNp ) w (

= S Np Az )e − (S Np Az )w = (SUT − SPT .Np P ) AP ∆z (35)

( Avρ ) e = ( Avρ )w ; F = ρv ; ( AF )e = (AF ) w (36)

In the interpolation was applied the upwind difference scheme to calculate the particle number as:

A w − Fw ,0 = A w F w ,0 − Aw F w ; Ae Fe ,0 = Ae − Fe ,0 + Ae Fe (38)

After integration and interpolation were obtained the linear algebraic equations. In the minimum control volume

the discretised equation for minimum control volume is

a P NpP = a E NpE + S U (39)

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where: a W = 0 ; a in = Aw Fw ,0 ; a E = Ae − Fe ,0 ; a P = a E + S P (40)

In the internal control volume from I=3 to I=N-2, the discretised equation for internal control volume is

a P Np P = a W Np W + a E Np E + S U (42)

where: aW = Aw Fw ,0 ; a E = Ae − Fe ,0 ; a P = aW + a E + S P (43)

In the maximum control volume I=N-1, the discretised equation for maximum control volume:

a P Np P = a E Np E + S U (45)

where: aW = Aw Fw ,0 ; a E = 0 ; a P = aW + S P (46)

The solution of algebraic equations as a system of linear algebraic equations were obtained by Thomas

Algorithm or the Tri-diagonal Matrix Algorithm (TDMA) as direct method for one-dimensional situation problems.

In isothermal condition the discretization equation, for example Eq.(39), Eq.(42) and Eq.(45) are a linear algebraic

equations, and the set of such equations is solved by the methods of linear algebraic equations with the

following iterative procedures to find the value of the number of particle with or without baffle: 1) Guess a number

of particle, aN p; 2) Calculate the initiator and radicals distribution; 3) Calculate the number of particle, Np; 4)

Compare the Np with the actual number of particle, aN p; 5) If absolute value of N p − aN p is greater than a factor

of convergence, then to set aNp=Np (return to the step 1). We must make another difference is lower.

The simulation results of conversion (Xj) versus length of the reactor (Z) for styrene without baffles (C0) and

with baffles (C18) in isothermal condition (C) at 60 °C, with reactor diameter (Dr) at Dr=0.5 and Dr=1 m are

displayed in Figures 3 (a) and (b). The conversions at Dr=1 m are higher than the conversions at Dr=0.5 m without

and with baffles.

The comparative results in isothermal condition at 60°C of computational (XcC), experimental (Xe) and

simulation conversion (Xs) (literature results) versus residence time (t) inside TR are shown in Figure 3 (c). When

compared to the model used by Bataile et al. (1982), it can be observed that the three curves have same behavior

and validate the FVM through the comparative of experimental and simulation results.

1 1 1

0,6 C18-d.5

C0-d.5

Xj

Xj

Xj

Xe

0,4 C0-d1 0,4 C18-d1 0,4

Xs

0,2 0,2 0,2

0 0 0

0 5 10 15 20 0 5 10 15 20 0 20 40 60 80

Z(m) Z(m) t(min)

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Fig. 3 (a) Conversion of monomer without (Nb=0) and (b) with (Nb=18) baffles, and (c) experimental validation in isothermal

(CNb=60°C) conditions.

The prediction results of the polystyrene particles number (Np) versus length of the reactor (Z) with baffles (C18)

in isothermal condition (C) at 60°C with reactor diameter at Dr=0.5 and Dr=1 m are exhibited in Figure 4 (a). The

particle

(a) numbers with Dr=1 m are higher(b)

than the particle numbers with Dr=0.5(c)m, but the simulation results with

Dr=0.5 m are approximately close to the experimental results. The mathematical model of the Eqs. (15) and (16)

were used to simulate the particles numbers with MN and HN.

The simulation of the polystyrene particles size of unswollen particle radius (R) versus length of the reactor (Z)

with baffles (C18) in isothermal condition at 60°C with reactor diameter of Dr=0.5 and Dr=1 m are shown in Figure

4 (b). The particle sizes with reactor diameter Dr=0.5 m are smaller than the particle size with reactor diameter

Dr=1m. The mathematical model of the Eq. (17) was used to estimate the particle sizes for both diameters as shown

in Figure 4(b).

The results of polymer viscosity distribution (Ln(µ)) inside TR versus conversion of monomer (Xj) with baffles

(C18) in isothermal condition (C) at 60°C with reactor diameter Dr=0.5 and Dr=1 m are shown in Figure 4 (c). The

viscosity with reactor diameter Dr=0.5 m is lower than the viscosity with reactor diameter Dr=1 m like expected.

The mathema tical model of the Eq. (18) was used to estimate the viscosity for both diameters as shown in Figure 4

(c).

8,00E+19 5 50

7,00E+19

6,00E+19 4 40 C18-d.5

5,00E+19 C18-d1

R(cnm)

Np(1/l)

3 30

4,00E+19

Ln(MI)

3,00E+19 2 20

2,00E+19 C18-d.5 C18-d.5

1 C18-d1 10

1,00E+19 C18-d1

0,00E+00 0

0

0 5 10 15 20 0 5 10 15 20

0 0,2 0,4 0,6 0,8 1

Z(m) Z(m) -10

(a) (b) (c) Xj

Fig. 4 (a) Number of particles with Nb=18 baffles; (b) Average particle size distribution with Nb=18 baffles and (c) Viscosity

distribution with Nb=18 baffles.

The simulation results of the cumulative average molecular weight distribution (Eq. (19)) versus conversion of

monomer (Xj), with baffles (MnC18, MwC18) in isothermal at 60 °C with reactor diameter Dr=0.5 and Dr=1 m are

shown in Figure 5. The performances of the average molecular weight are different as shown in Figures 5 (a)-(c).

The number (Mn) and weight (Mw) molecular have a better distribution when the reactor diameter effect decrease

in proposed reactor as shown in Figure 5 (c).

3500000 3500000 3500000

Molecular weight

Molecular weight

Molecular weight

2500000 2500000 2500000

2000000 2000000 2000000

1500000 1500000 MnC18-d.5

1500000

1000000 1000000 1000000

MwC18-d.5 9

MnC18-d.5 MnC18-d1 MnC18-d1

500000 500000 MwC18-d1 500000

MwC18-d.5 MwC18-d1

0 0 0

0 0,2 0,4 0,6 0,8 1 0 0,2 0,4 0,6 0,8 1 0 0,2 0,4 0,6 0,8 1

Xj Xj Xj

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Fig. 5 Molecular weight distribution with reactor diameter effect of (a) Dr=0.5 m, Nb=18 baffles, (b) Dr=1 m, Nb=18 baffles

and (c) Comparative results of Dr=0.5 and Dr=1 m.

6. Conclusions

The performances of emulsion polymerization proposed reactor is higher in relation to conventional tubular

reactor when desired properties are analyzed. The proposed reactor design consists on the placement of baffles

inside the tube. With the proposed design a better average molecular weight distribution is achieved. The effect

of the diameter is such as that the design parameter can be used to obtain the products with the desired

characteristic. In particular the conversion and particle number decrease when the reactor diameter was

diminished. In general the performance of baffled reactor leads to obtain with better properties.

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Acknowledgement

The author is grateful to the PEC-PG/CAPES and LOPCA-DPQ/FEQ UNICAMP for their financial support.

10

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