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Chemical Reaction Engineering

Ph. D. Qualifier examination

Open book (Scott Fogler) exam

1. A second order irreversible liquid phase reaction A +B  C takes place in a Plug

flow reactor (PFR). The feed to the reactor is 50 kmol/hr of each reactant. The
total conversion is 50%. The reaction kinetics is rA = -k CACB where k is 0.5 m3/
kmol/hr. The same reaction is to be performed in a CSTR of equal volume.
Calculate the conversion in the latter case. The concentration of A in the feed is 5

If the reaction was in gas phase, would the answer be different? If yes, write the
relevant equations (do not solve) to recalculate the conversion. [20]

2. a. For a reaction A  B C (all are irreversible and elementary reactions), give

the equations to be solved to obtain the concentration of B in a batch reactor as a
function of time. Give qualitative profiles of all the species as a function of time.
b. For an irreversible reaction the reaction rate doubles when
temperature is increased from 300K to 310 K. Calculate the activation energy.
c.For the following graph of a solid-catalytic reaction, in each case which process
governs the overall rate? -intrinsic kinetics, external mass transfer or intraparticle
diffusion. Justify your answer.

ln (-rA)

3. A first order homogeneous liquid-phase reaction is carried out in an ideal stirred
tank reactor. The concentration of the reactant in the feed is 3.0 kmol/m3 and the
volumetric flow rate is 60 x 10-6 m3/sec. The density and specific heat for the
reaction mixture are constant at 1000 kg/m3 and 4.19 kJ/kg.K, respectively. The
reactor volume is 18 lit. There is no product in the feed stream and reactor
operates adiabatically. The heat and rate of reaction are -2.09 x 108 J/kmol and

rA = - 4.48 x 106 CA exp (- 62,800/RT) kmol/m3/sec

where, activation energy is in SI units. CA is the reactant concentration in

kmol/m3. T is in K and R= 8.314 J/mol/K. If the feed is at 273 K what is the
steady state product temperature and conversion? (Hint: the conversion is beyond
90%). [20]

4. The rate of isomerization of n-butane on a silica-alumna spherical catalyst

measured at 5 atm and 50oC, in a laboratory reactor with high turbulence in the
gas phase surrounding the catalyst pellet is given below. Turbulence ensures that
the external diffusion resistances are negligible. Kinetic studies indicate that the
rate is first order and irreversible. The effective diffusivity is 0.08 cm2/sec at the
reaction conditions, and the density of the catalyst pellet is 1 g/cm3 regardless of
the size. The measured rates when pure n-butane surrounds the catalyst are as

Particle 1/16 1/8 ¼ 3/8 1

diameter (in)

Rate 4.88 x 10-4 4.85 x 10-4 4.01 x 10-4 3.54 x 10-4 1 x 10-5
mol/sec/g of

From the above data, determine the intrinsic first order rate constant in the
absence of intraparticle diffusion. Also predict the rate if the particle size is 1.5
inch. It may be assumed that effectiveness factor () is inverse of Thiele modulus
() (i.e.  = 1/) when 0.25. [20]

5. A reactor of irregular geometry offers following E curve. Calculate the average

residence time. Also determine the conversion in each of the following cases (i
and ii) if complete segregation of feed streams is assumed to take place.
i) For a first order reaction rA = -0.1 CA (kmols/hr/m3)
ii) For a second order reaction in problem 1,
Also, what will be the conversion for the first order reaction in case-i for the
maximum mixedness case?

E(t) hr-1

0.0 0.5 1.0

Time (hr)