Interactive Self-Study Module: Thermal Effects in Chemical Reactions


This module uses a screencast and an interactive simulation to explain the importance of mass and energy balances when using a chemical reactor. It then provides a step-by-step quiz simulation and 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 the screencast, and questions to answer before using the interactive simulation, and you try to solve the example problems before watching the solutions in the screencasts. 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 screencast or working with the simulations. 
  2. Watch the screencast that applies an energy balance to a semibatch reactor.
  3. Review important equations for thermal effects in chemical reactions.
  4. Use the interactive simulation to further understand the relation between conversion and temperature in an adiabatic reactor.
  5. Use the quiz interactive simulation to test your understanding by carrying out step-by-step preparation of an adiabatic, reversible reaction.
  6. Try to solve the example problems before watching the solutions in the screencasts.
  7. Answer the ConcepTests.
  8. Look at the list of key points, but only after you try to list the key points yourself.
  • Chemical reactors are limited by equilibrium, which is temperature dependent.
  • This module is intended for a thermodynamics or a kinetics course. 
Before studying this module, you should be able to:
After studying this module, you should be able to:
  • Calculate the exit temperature from a chemical reactor if the exit conversion is known.
  • Calculate the equilibrium conversion in an adiabatic reactor.
  • Calculate the adiabatic equilibrium temperature for a chemical reaction.
  • Explain what effect adding an inert will have on the adiabatic temperature for either an endothermic or exothermic reaction.
  • Calculate the heat that must be removed to keep a reactor isothermal, given the exit conversion from the reactor.