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How to Benefit from CFD Simulation

| Author / Editor: Ravindra Aglave, Thomas Eppinger* / Anke Geipel-Kern

CFD simulation for reaction engineering
CFD simulation for reaction engineering (Source: © nordroden / Fotolia.com)

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CFD Simulation in Chemical Reaction Engineering — The goal of reaction engineering is to optimize transport processes (heat transfer, mass transfer and mixing) in order to improve yield/conversion of desired products whilst ensuring the safe operation of the reactor. CFD simulation can help maximizing yield while minimizing costs.

The goal of reaction engineering is to optimize transport processes (heat transfer, mass transfer and mixing) in order to improve yield/conversion of desired products whilst ensuring the safe operation of the reactor. This means maximizing yield while minimizing costs.

How to Design a Reactor?

Designing a reactor has several key facets: phase, or state of the reactants and products (solid, gas, liquid or aqueous/dissolved in water); reaction type (single, multiple, parallel series or polymerization); whether a catalyst is involved; flow distribution and mixing; transport of the species; and mode of operation — batch, semi-batch or continuous. Most crucial are the underlying transport processes — fluid flow, heat transfer, mass transfer and reactions — which is where CFD simulation can add substantial value.

Initial engineering begins with an idealized reactor model sized to lab/bench scale and is used to predict key variables in reactor behavior including the reaction parameters, material properties, toxicity, ideal operating conditions, catalysts best suited for the job, as well as preliminary reactor dimensions.

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