Thermoflow multiplicity in a packed-bed reactor: Conduction and cooling effects



Steady states with different flow rates and temperature profiles may exist in different tubes of a multitube packed-bed reactor due to the coupling among the species, energy and momentum balances, and the change of physical properties with temperature and pressure. Under typical operating conditions if no axial conduction of heat occurs thermoflow multiplicity can be found only for unrealistically high heats of reaction and/or over a very narrow range of exit pressures. However, accounting for the finite but small heat conduction in the reactor tubes leads to multiplicity for typical parameters and a reasonable range of exit pressures. Cooling tends to decrease the region of parameters for which the multiplicity occurs.