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Keywords:

  • confined flow;
  • liquid-liquid;
  • mass transfer;
  • reaction;
  • simulations

Abstract

While the benefits of miniaturization on processes have been widely demonstrated, its impact on microfluidics and local mechanisms such as mass transfer is still little understood. The coupling between reaction and mass transfer in microchannels is simulated for liquid-liquid slug flow. First, the extrapolation to confined flow of the classical model used to calculate interfacial mass fluxes in reactive infinite media was studied. This model consists in estimating transferred fluxes between two phases as a function of the enhancement factor E. Its expression depends on the model used to represent interfacial mass transfer. In infinite media, Lewis and Whitman's stagnant film theory is generally preferred for its simplicity and its reliability. In the case of confined slug flow, the limitation of such a model to predict interfacial fluxes is highlighted. Second, the case of liquid-liquid competitive consecutive reactions in microchannels is considered. The unfavorable impact of the length between droplets on selectivity is emphasized. This is a direct consequence of mass-transport mechanisms in microchannels. © 2010 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2011