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Abstract

A comparative study of the effects of catalyst fragmentation in the gas phase and bulk polymerization processes in performed. Typical operating conditions for each process are used for the comparison. The monomer concentration in the bulk process is nearly one order of magnitude larger than that in the gas phase process. The energy transfer conditions between the particle and the fluid phase are better in the liquid phase. The rate of mass transfer within the macroparticle at the initial steps of the polymerization is found to be slower in the bulk process than in the gas phase process. In the liquid phase process, fragmentation takes place more slowly. Temperature excursion values are smaller even though the dimensionless monomer concentrations are, in fact, greater because of the higher monomer concentration available in the liquid phase. The final steady rate of reaction and the ultimate catalyst yield reflect this phenomenon. Although the microparticle nucleus size affects both processes, the diffusion control that occurs when the fragments are large affects the gas phase process more intensely. In the bulk process, even at the lowest value reached by the rate of reaction, this is still sufficiently high so as to produce high yields.