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Publication Title | ICHEME SYMPOSIUM SERIES NO. 141

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ICHEME SYMPOSIUM SERIES NO. 141

PROCESS INTENSIFICATION: THE OPPORTUNITY PRESENTED BY SPINNING DISC REACTOR TECHNOLOGY

R. J. Jachuck, C. Ramshaw, K.Boodhoo and J.C.Dalgleish

Department of Chemical and Process Engineering, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU, UK

In this paper the potentials of intensified spinning disc reactors for handling fast exothermic reactions and reactions which are either heat or mass transfer limited have been discussed. Such reactors can lead to reduced volumes of hazardous materials for handling and transportation, and reduction of the dangers associated with thermal runaway and thermal ignition. Research by the Process Intensification on spinning disc reactors is ongoing and results to date are promising.

Keywords: spinning disc reactors, fast exothermic reactions, polymerisation

INTRODUCTION

Due to the

produced on rotating surfaces( Plate 1). Recent studies have indicated that the fluid dynamics within these films result in significant enhancement in the heat and mass transfer rates(l,2). It is therefore expected that a reactor based on this technology should have the following advantages:

(1) Rapid mixing in the liquid film

(2) Short liquid residence time

(3) Rapid solid/liquid heat/mass transfer (4) Rapid liquid/vapour heat/mass transfer

This makes the spinning disc reactors strong contenders for performing fast exothermic reactions and reactions which are limited by mass transfer rates. A typical example for the mass transfer limited reaction is the polymerisation of unsaturated esters where the reaction is driven by the removal of glycol from the reaction system. Previous studies at Newcastle University (3) have shown that the total reaction time for the manufacture of unsaturated polyester can be significantly reduced by using a spinning disc reactor having a cascade of discs instead of a conventional stirred tank batch reactor. As the spinning disc reactors operate in a continuous mode and markedly reduce the inventory of hazardous chemicals, they could play an important role in improving the intrinsic safety of the plant. In addition it has also been shown that the molecular weight distribution of the polymer products obtained from the spinning disc reactor is extremely tight.

substantial accelerations which can be generated, thin highly sheared films can be

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