Nitration of nitrobenzene at high-concentrations of sulfuric acid: Mass transfer and kinetic aspects



This article reports studies on mass transfer and kinetics of nitration of nitrobenzene at high concentrations of sulfuric acid in a batch reactor at different temperatures. The effects of concentration of sulfuric acid, speed of stirring, and temperature on mass transfer coefficient were investigated. The kinetics of nitration under homogenized conditions was studied at different sulfuric acid concentrations at these temperatures. The reaction rate constants were determined. The variation of rate constant with sulfuric acid concentration was explained by the Mc function. The activation energies of the reactions were determined from the Arrhenius plots. The regimes of the reactions were determined using the values of the mass transfer coefficients and the reaction rate constants. A model was developed for simultaneous mass transfer and chemical reaction in the aqueous phase. The yields of the three isomers of dinitrobenzene were determined, and the variation of isomer distribution with sulfuric acid concentration and temperature was analyzed. This work demonstrates that more than 90% conversion of nitrobenzene is possible at high-sulfuric acid concentrations resulting in high yield of the product even at moderate temperatures and at low speeds of stirring. © 2009 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2010