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Keywords:

  • polyolefins;
  • packed-bed reactor;
  • heat transfer;
  • start-up;
  • gas phase polymerization

Abstract

A specially conceived packed-bed stopped flow minireactor (3 mL) suitable for short gas phase catalytic reactions has been used to study the start-up of ethylene homopolymerization with a supported metallocene catalyst. Focus has been put on the heat transfer characteristics of the supported catalysts and on understanding the relationship between the initial rate and the relative gas/particle velocities and the influence of particle parameters in the packed bed. We performed a comprehensive study on the influence of various physical parameters on the heat transfer regime at start up conditions. The catalyst activity as well as the polymer morphology is shown to be dependent on heat transfer regime. The knowledge thus obtained is applicable to industrial problems like catalyst injection in fluidized beds and helps preventing experimental artifacts due to overheating in following studies. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2012