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CHE502: REACTION ENGINEERING 1

ASSIGNMENT 2
SELECTED INDUSTRIAL REACTOR DESCRIPTION
PO2, CO3, C6
The apparent consumption of ethylene glycol was 24 million tons in 2001, and it reached
more than 100 million tons in 2011. This rapid growth of ethylene glycol production is due to its
widespread application as an antifreeze, mainly for commercial purposes, as well as raw material
in the production of polyester fibers and plastics. Ethylene glycol was produced via a catalytic
reaction of ethylene oxide hydrolysis as shown below.

In order to identify the reaction kinetics data, a lab scale experiment was carried out at
constant temperature of 85oC. The initial concentration of ethylene oxide used in the experiment
is 1 mol/L while water is present in excess. The data collected from the experiment is as tabulated
below:

Time(min) Ethylene Glycol


Concentration (kmol/m3)
0 0
0.5 0.145
1.0 0.270
1.5 0.376
2.0 0.467
3.0 0.610
4.0 0.715
6.0 0.848
10.0 0.957

You (and your team) are chemical engineers in Frodo Engineering who is in charge of the
adiabatic CSTR that produces ethylene glycol. A stream of 16 kmol/L solution of ethylene oxide
at molar flowrate of 1600 kmol/min is fed to the reactor together with water at initial molar flowrate
of 3200 kmol/min. Ethylene oxide supplied to the reactor is half of the volumetric flowrate of water.
Unfortunately, the reactor used in this process starts to leak and need a replacement.

There is another CSTR of 1m3 capacity standing idle which can possibly be used to replace
the leaked reactor. You and your team must evaluate the feasibility of using this reactor to achieve
reaction conversion of 80% when operating adiabatically. However, the reactor can only be
operated at temperature less than 125oC. A plot of conversion as a function of temperature in the
range of 25oC to 200oC is necessary to predict if the reactor is suitable to replace the leaked
reactor or otherwise. In order to evaluate the maximum conversion obtainable using the idle
reactor, manipulate the inlet feed temperature to 40oC, 45oC, 50oC, 55oC, 60oC*.
These items must be included in your report:
1. Process Background
2. Reactor Selection
3. Kinetics
4. Detail Design
5. Safety consideration/factor
Finally, recommend few ways to increase the conversion of ethylene oxide to ethylene glycol.
Additional information on the reaction is provided below:

Chemical Heat of
species formation at Heat Capacity (kJ/mol.K) : 𝐶𝑝 = 𝑎 + 𝑏𝑇 + 𝑐𝑇 2 + 𝑑𝑇 3
25oC (kJ/mol)
a b c d
Ethylene oxide -26.3 7.52 0.2222 1.256x10-4 2.592x10-8
Water -142.7 138.23 0.0104
Ethylene glycol -193.5 78.00

Activation energy : 39,500 J/mol

*each group (5 members each) must choose the inlet temperature