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4.

0 THEORY

4.1 Rate of Reaction and Rate Law

Simply put, rate of reaction can be roughly defined as the rate of disappearance of reactants
or the rate of formation of products. When a chemical reaction is said to occur, a
reactant(or several) diminishes and a product(or several) produced. This is what constitutes a
chemical reaction. For example :

𝑎𝐴 + 𝑏𝐵 → 𝑐𝐶 + 𝑑𝐷

where A and B represent reactants while C and D represent products. In this reaction, A and
B is being diminished and C and D is being produced. Rate of reaction, concerns itself with
how fast the reactants diminish or how fast the product is formed. Rate of reaction of each
species corresponds respectively to their stoichiometric coefficient. As such :

𝑟𝐴 𝑟𝐵 𝑟𝐶 𝑟𝐷
− =− = =
𝑎 𝑏 𝑐 𝑑

The negative sign indicates reactants.

A usual equation for rA is :

𝛽
−𝑟𝐴 = 𝑘𝐶𝐴𝛼 𝐶𝐵

where

k - rate constant

CA - concentration of A species

CB - concentration of B species

α - stoichiometric coefficient of A

β - stoichiometric coefficient of B

4.2 Conversion

Taking species A as the basis, the reaction expression can be divided through the
stoichiometric coefficient of species A, hence the reaction expression can be arranged as
follows :
𝑏 𝑐 𝑑
𝐴+ 𝐵+ 𝐶+ 𝐷
𝑎 𝑎 𝑎

Conversion is an improved way of quantifying exactly how far has the reaction moved, or
how many moles of products are formed for every mole of A has consumed. Conversion XA
is the number of moles of A that have reacted per mole of A fed to the system. As seen
below :

𝑚𝑜𝑙𝑒𝑠 𝑜𝑓 𝐴 𝑟𝑒𝑎𝑐𝑡𝑒𝑑
𝑋𝐴 =
𝑚𝑜𝑙𝑒𝑠 𝑜𝑓 𝐴 𝑓𝑒𝑑

4.3Plug Flow Reactor

A Plug Flow Reactor (PFR) consistd in a long, straight pipe in which the reactive fluid
transits at steady state ( no accumulation). The main assumption of this models are that the
fluid is completely mixed in any cross-section at any point, but it exprience no axial mixing,
i.e contiguous cross sections cannot exchange mass with each other.

In a plug flow reactor, the feed enters at one end of a cylindrical tube and the product stream
leaves at the other end. The long tube and the lack of provision for stirring prevent complete
mixing of the fluid in the tube. Hence the properties of the flowing stream will vary from one
point to another.

In an ideal tubular flow reactor, which is called plug flow reactor, specific assumptions are
made regarding the extent of mixing:

1. no mixing in the axial direction


2. complete mixing in the radial direction
3. a uniform velocity profile across the radius.
Tubular reactors are one type of flow reactors. It has continuous inflow and outflow of
materials. In the tubular reactor, the feed enters at one end of a cylindrical tube and the product
stream leaves at the other end. The long tube and the lack stirring prevent complete mixing of
the fluid in the tube.

4.4Residence time distribution function

Residence Time Distribution is a characteristic of the mixing that occurs in the chemical
reactor. There is no axial mixing in a plug flow reactor, PFR and this omission can be seen in
the Residence Time Distribution, RTD which is exhibited by this class of reactors. The
continuous stirred tank reactor CSTR is thoroughly mixed and its RTD is hugely different as
compared to the RTD of PFR.