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Population balance modeling and simulation of liquid–liquid–liquid phase transfer catalyzed synthesis of mandelic acid from benzaldehyde

Authors

  • P. R. Sowbna,

    1. Dept. of Chemical Engineering, Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), Nathalal Parekh Marg, Matunga, Mumbai 400019, India
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  • Ganapati D. Yadav,

    Corresponding author
    1. Dept. of Chemical Engineering, Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), Nathalal Parekh Marg, Matunga, Mumbai 400019, India
    • Dept. of Chemical Engineering, Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT), Nathalal Parekh Marg, Matunga, Mumbai 400010, India===

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  • Doraiswami Ramkrishna

    1. School of Chemical Engineering, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
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    • D. Ramkrishna is the M.M. Sharma Distinguished Professor at ICT, Mumbai


Abstract

Mandelic acid has cosmetic, pharmaceutical, and antibacterial activities and is used in urinary antiseptic medicines. An attractive process for the production of mandelic acid is through reaction between benzaldehyde, sodium hydroxide, and chloroform in the presence of polyethylene glycol 4000 as a phase transfer catalyst. The liquid–liquid phase transfer catalyzed (L–L PTC) reaction can be intensified by converting it into three-liquid phases (L–L–L PTC). We address the modeling of a well-stirred reactor for the foregoing process, in which organic droplets surrounded by a thin film of catalyst-rich phase are suspended in the aqueous phase. A population balance model is formulated for the L–L–L PTC reaction and solved by Monte Carlo simulation using interval of quiescence technique. Transport processes and intrinsic reaction kinetics are extracted from the experiments. This population balance model serves to assess and interpret the relative roles of various processes in L–L–L PTC reaction, such as diffusive transport, reaction, and interaction between dispersed phase droplets. The model is expected to be an effective tool for reactor design and scale up. © 2012 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2012

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