Reaction in an Isothermal Continuous Stirred-Tank Reactor (CSTR)

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In this Demonstration, the liquid-phase reaction takes place in an isothermal, continuous stirred-tank reactor (CSTR). Use the sliders to set the feed concentration of , , the volumetric flow rate and the rate constant . Select the reaction order with respect to using the "" or "" button. The rate constant has the same numerical value when the reaction order changes, but its units are different. The figure shows the feed molar flow rate , the feed concentration , the outlet molar flow rates , and the outlet concentrations , . Note that the outlet concentrations are identical to the concentrations in the reactor. The reactor residence time is also calculated.

Contributed by: Neil Hendren (February 2019)
Additional contributions by: John L. Falconer
(University of Colorado Boulder, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA


The constant-density, liquid-phase reaction takes place in an isothermal CSTR: , with reaction rate ,

where is the concentration of component ,

is the rate of reaction of component ,

is the order of reaction with respect to

and is the rate constant.

Mass balances on each component:

component : ,

component : .

Mass balances in terms of volumetric flow rates and concentrations:

component : ,

component : .

is the molar flow rate of component at the inlet;

is the molar flow rate of component at the outlet;

and are molar concentrations of component at the inlet and outlet, respectively;

and is the volumetric flow rate, which is equal at the inlet and outlet for constant-density reactions.

The solution to these mass balances for first- and second-order reactions are:




where is the residence time in the reactor.


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