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Keywords:

  • microreactor;
  • geometry of fluid segments;
  • dimensionless number;
  • molecular diffusion;
  • product yield and selectivity

Abstract

In microreactors, reactant fluids are split into many fluid segments and then fed into the reactors to shorten mixing time. Two dimensionless numbers are introduced to represent effects of geometric design factors of fluid segments, such as shapes and arrangements, on reactor performance, namely mixing rate and product yield and selectivity: the ratio of reaction rate to diffusion rate and the aspect ratio of the mean diffusion length in the two-dimensional (2-D) directions in the reactor cross section. Methods to determine these numbers are also proposed. To examine the validity of these numbers on estimating the reactor performance, we compare product yields between each pair of reactors having the different geometric design factors but the same dimensionless numbers using computational fluid dynamics simulations. The results show that these numbers serve as the indices for estimating the reactor performance. Using these numbers, design guidelines for geometry of fluid segments are also discussed. © 2005 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2006