Energy Balances in Stirred Tank Reactors: Interactive Simulation

This simulation was prepared using Mathematica. Download the free Wolfram player, and then download the simulation CDF file (link given below or click on figure to download). Try to predict the behavior when a parameter changes before using a slider to change that parameter. A screencast below explains how to use this simulation.

A liquid-phase reaction takes place in an adiabatic, continuous stirred tank reactor (CSTR). The user selects an exothermic reaction, and then selects feed concentration of the limiting reactant A and the volumetric flow rate. Mass and energy balances are solved to determine the outlet reactant concentration and temperature. The color of the fluid in the reactor is correlated with the reactor temperature: lower temperature is blue and as the temperature increases the fluid becomes purple and then red.

Try to answer these questions before determining the answer with the simulation. We suggest that you write down the reasons for your answers.

  1. If the reactant concentration increases at a constant volumetric flow rate, does the reactor temperature increase, decrease, or not change?
  2. When the volumetric flow rate increases, does the reactor temperature increase or decrease?
  3. Is the highest rate of reaction obtained at low or high volumetric flow rates?
  4. Is the production rate (mole flow rate of product in effluent) obtained at low or high volumetric flow rate?