When a trickle-bed reactor (TBR) is operated periodically, the bed is fed with liquid on and off, while the gas phase passes continuously. Rates and conversions could be higher than those corresponding to the steady-state operation. In the “dry cycles” the heat generated by the reaction can drive the vaporization of the liquid phase, and a much more rapid “gas phase” reaction may occur. There is a trade-off between the potential for hot-spot formation and the fact that overall rates are higher during cycling. A qualitative understanding of the phase transition in TBRs is obtained by a simple phenomenological model that takes into account different transport and reaction mechanisms occurring in a catalytic particle under different cycling conditions. A mathematical model is used to predict results.
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