An experimental study of steady state multiplicity in a loop reactor



Steady state multiplicity in an adiabatic loop reactor was studied in experiments employing the reaction between sodium thiosulfate and hydrogen peroxide in aqueous solution. The steady state characteristics of the loop reactor were predicted by a method which utilized batch reactor data of temperature vs. time directly. The method was based on the assumption of plug flow with negligible axial dispersion and on a single-step chemical kinetic model. Experimental results verify the existence of multiple steady states on ranges of feed flow rates and recycle ratios and demonstrate the capability of the simple model for predicting the qualitative and quantitative features of the reactor steady state.

Some observations were made of the effect of large disturbances on the stability of the reactor while operating in a multiple state region. Results for such cases illustrate reactor instability in the sense that a transition to a new steady state takes place provided the disturbance is sufficiently large.