Dynamics of a Nonadiabatic Continuously Stirred Tank Reactor

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This Demonstration shows the dynamics of a non-isothermal continuously stirred tank reactor (CSTR) where a first-order irreversible chemical reaction takes place. The dynamics of the system are described by the equations [1]


, , , ,

where and are the conversion and temperature at the reactor outlet, and represent the reactor fluid inlet temperature and cooling temperature, is the heat of reaction, is the heat transfer coefficient, and are the average density and heat capacity of the reactants, is the feed concentration, is the reaction rate as a function of temperature, is the activation energy, and and are constants. The solution shows multiple stationary states. These values determine the number of steady states possible: the feed concentration , the inlet temperature of the reactive and cooling fluid, the residence time, and the heat transfer coefficient. A single steady state is most common, but two and even three steady states can occur. When three steady states occur only two of them are stable, whereas the other stationary point (the middle one) is unstable. Qualitative and mathematical proofs of this complex behavior can be found in standard chemical engineering texts [1], [2], and [3].


Contributed by: Clay Gruesbeck (March 2013)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA




[1] P. G. Gray and K. S. Scott, Chemical Oscillations and Instabilities: Non-Linear Chemical Kinetics, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994.

[2] L. A. Belfiore, Transport Phenomena for Chemical Reactor Design, New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2003.

[3] L. D. Schmidt, The Engineering of Chemical Reactions, New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.

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