Modeling and simulation of polypropylene particle size distribution in industrial horizontal stirred bed reactors

Authors

  • Zhou Tian,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Chemical Engineering, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310027, People's Republic of China
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  • Xue-Ping Gu,

    Corresponding author
    1. State Key Laboratory of Chemical Engineering, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310027, People's Republic of China
    • State Key Laboratory of Chemical Engineering, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310027, People's Republic of China
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  • Lian-Fang Feng,

    1. State Key Laboratory of Chemical Engineering, Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310027, People's Republic of China
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  • Jean-Pierre Corriou,

    1. Laboratory of Reactions and Process Engineering, CNRS-Nancy University, ENSIC-INPL, 1 rue Grandville, BP 20451, Nancy 54001, France
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  • Guo-Hua Hu

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratory of Reactions and Process Engineering, CNRS-Nancy University, ENSIC-INPL, 1 rue Grandville, BP 20451, Nancy 54001, France
    • Laboratory of Reactions and Process Engineering, CNRS-Nancy University, ENSIC-INPL, 1 rue Grandville, BP 20451, Nancy 54001, France
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Abstract

This work aims at developing a steady-state particle size distribution (PSD) model for predicting the size distribution of polypropylene particles in the outflow streams of propylene gas-phase horizontal stirred bed reactors (HSBR), on the one hand and investigating the effect of the catalyst residence time distribution (RTD) on the polymer PSD, on the other hand. The polymer multilayer model (PMLM) is used to describe the growth of a single particle. Knowing the PSD and RTD of a Ziegler–Natta type of catalyst and polymerization kinetics, this model allows calculating the polymer PSD of propylene polymerization in the HSBRs. The calculated polypropylene PSDs agree well with those obtained from the industrial reactors. The results reveal that both the PSD and the RTD of the catalyst affect the polymer PSD but in different manners. The effect of RTD on the PSD is less significant in the case of a nonuniform size catalyst feed. This model also allows investigating the effects of other process parameters on the polymer PSD under steady-state conditions, including intraparticle mass- and heat-transfer limitations, initial catalyst size, and polymer crystallinity. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2012

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