Effect of fluid motion on radiation-induced polymerization of ethylene in a tubular reactor



The influence of the turbulence of reactant on the radiation-induced polymerization of ethylene in 40 mole-% Freon-114 (C2Cl2F4) was studied using a tubular reactor at 400 kg/cm2 and 25°C with a dose rate of 1.3 × 105 rad/hr. At constant linear velocity and tube diameter, the polymer concentration was shown to increase linearly with the reactor tube length. This indicates that the polymerization is in a stationary state. By changing the linear velocity from 3.5 to 42.7 cm/sec and the tube diameter from 5 to 14 mm, the space time yield and the molecular weight of polymer were found to vary between 0.21 and 0.46 mole ethylene/1.-hr and from 5.0×103 to 10.5×103, respectively. The space time yield and molecular weight decreased sharply to about one half those in the static polymerization with increasing fluid turbulence and then slowly increased in the highly turbulent state. Similar effects were observed in a tank reactor when the stirring speed was changed.