Interactive Self-Study Module: Isothermal Plug Reactors (PFRs)
This module uses screencasts and interactive simulations to explain mass balances for an isothermal plug flow reactor. It then provides example problems to allow the user to test themselves. Your retention of material in this module will increase if you write down reasons for your answers to ConcepTests, questions in screencasts, and questions to answer before using the interactive simulations, and you try to solve the example problems before watching the screencast solutions. We suggest using the learning resources in the following order:
- Attempt to answer the multiple choice ConcepTest and solve the example problem before watching the screencasts or working with the simulations.
- Watch the screencasts that describe isothermal plug flow reactors and answer the questions within the first screencast.
- Review important equations for isothermal plug flow reactors.
- Use the interactive simulations to further understand isothermal plug flow reactors.
- Try to solve the example problems before watching the solutions in the screencasts.
- Answer the ConcepTests.
- Look at the list of key points, but only after you try to list the key points yourself.
- This module is intended for a kinetics/reaction design course.
Before studying this module, you should be able to:
- Apply and solve material balances.
- Describe the ideal gas law.
- Explain what plug flow means.
- Describe what the rate of reaction is and how reaction rates depend on concentrations.
- Solve systems of ordinary differential equations numerically (ODEs) using software such as Polymath, Mathcad, Matlab, and Mathematica. These ODEs are initial-value problems.
After studying this module, you should be able to:
- Determine the size of an isothermal PFR for a single reaction, given the rate constant, order of reaction, inlet reactant concentration, and inlet flow rate.
- Determine the conversion in an isothermal PFR for a single reaction, given the rate constant, order of reaction, inlet reactant concentration, and inlet flow rate.
- Use the ideal gas law to account for changes in the volumetric flow rate in the plug flow reactor due to changes in the number of gas-phase moles in a reaction.
- Explain how the volumetric flow rate changes with distance down an isothermal PFR for a gas phase reaction.
- Predict how reactant flow rates change with the feed volumetric flow rate increases to an isothermal PFR.