The Chemical Reactor Design Tool: a portable software package for education and reaction engineering
Rosendall, Brigette Marie
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The Chemical Reactor Design Tool (CRDT) is a set of computer programs that solves the equations describing common chemical reactor models. The types of reactors that can be modeled include batch reactors, continuous stirred tank reactors, plug flow reactors, plug flow reactors with axial dispersion, and tubular flow reactors with radial dispersion. The models used are similar to those in the common reactor design textbooks. The most general equations describing the particular reactor are used for the base model so that any complexities can be included. CRDT is composed of three main components. The first is the window driven program that prompts the user for input. This input is required by the second component, the FORTRAN code that solves the mathematical models. The third componet: It is the set of programs that use the output from the FORTRAN programs to generate graphical output. CRDT can be used as a teaching tool. At the undergraduate level, complicated reactor models often cannot be solved by the student due to the complexity of the mathematics. CRDT allows the student to study such complex models without learning all of the required numerical techniques. Also, CRDT allows the student to compare many different models in a short amount of time. The effectiveness of using CRDT as a teaching tool is demonstrated with two examples from common reactor design textbooks. CRDT is also an effective design tool. It can be used to investigate many different phenomenon. The effects of axial and radial dispersion can be easily studied by comparing results of the PFR model with the results of the PFR with axial diffusion model and the two-dimensional model. Heterogeneous effects of catalyst packing can be analyzed by choosing external resistance under the mass transfer resistance menu and providing the appropriate parameters. Heat transfer at the wall can be included for all reactor types. Pressure drop for packed or empty tubes can be modeled. Corresponding changes in velocity and density are automatically taken into account for the gas-phase. Investigating all these effects allows the user to choose an appropriate model for their reaction system. A priori criterion can be used to estimate the importance of certain effects, but the predictions are not always accurate. The use of CRDT as a design tool is demonstrated by analyzing three industrial packed-bed reactors. The results are compared to the developed criteria.
- Chemical engineering