An experimental study of the reverse flow chromatographic reactor is carried with the equilibrium limited hydrogenation of 1,3,5-trimethylbenzene (mesitylene, MES) to 1,3,5-trimethylcyclohexane. The reaction is pseudo first-order when carried out in excess hydrogen. A simple experimental setup is used to evaluate the effects of carrier flow, reactant feed concentration, and amount of catalyst on conversion. Conversions exceeding the thermodynamic equilibrium conversion are obtained for a wide variety of switching times, catalyst amounts, carrier flow rates, and reactant concentrations, showing the robustness of the system. While the qualitative features of the process can be predicted for a simple linear adsorption equilibrium model, the experimental results are best fitted by assuming a linear adsorption isotherm combined with an adjusted interfacial mass-transfer resistance. The experimental results are very similar to those reported in previous research of the same reaction in a simulated moving-bed chromatographic reactor. © 2006 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2006
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