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Keywords:

  • reactor analysis;
  • simulation;
  • process;
  • fronts;
  • bifurcations;
  • transversal patterns

Abstract

Formation of transversal patterns in a 3D cylindrical reactor is studied with a catalytic reactor model in which an exothermic first-order reaction of Arrhenius kinetics occurs with a variable catalytic activity. Under these oscillatory kinetics, the system exhibits a planar front (1D) solution with the front position oscillating in the axial direction. Three types of patterns were simulated in the 3D system: rotating fronts, oscillating fronts with superimposed transversal (nonrotating) oscillations, and mixed rotating–oscillating fronts. These solutions coexist with the planar front solution and require special initial conditions. We map bifurcation diagrams showing domains of different modes using the reactor radius as a bifurcation parameter. The possible reduction of the 3D model to the 2D cylindrical shell model is discussed. © 2010 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2010