Interactive Self-Study Module: Residence Time Distribution


This module uses screencasts and an interactive simulation to explain residence time distribution (RTD) in chemical reactors. The RTD for a real reactor can be used to model the reactor or predict conversion and product distribution. 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 simulation, and you try to solve the example problems before watching the screencasts solutions. We suggest using the learning resources in the following order:

  1. Attempt to answer the multiple choice ConcepTest and solve the example problem before watching the screencasts or working with the simulations.
  2. Watch the screencasts that describe RTDs and answer the questions within the screencasts.
  3. Use the interactive simulation to further understand the behavior of the RTD for CSTRs in series.
  4. Try to solve the example problems before watching the solutions in the screencasts.
  5. Answer the ConcepTests.
  6. Look at the list of key points, but only after you try to list the key points yourself.
  • This simulation is intended for a kinetics/reactor design course.
Before studying this module, you should be able to:
After studying this module, you should be able to:
  • Calculate the average residence time from a tracer measurement on a reactor.
  • Explain the shape of residence time distribution (RTD) for a plug flow reactor and a continuous stirred tank reactor.
  • Explain the shape of the RTD for multiple CSTRs in series.
  • Set up and solve material balances for a tracer pulse injection into CSTRs in series.