Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis of mixing in styrene polymerization
thesisposted on 22.05.2021, 09:43 by Haresh Patel
A styrene polymerization in a lab-scale CSTR equipped with a pitched blade turbine impeller was simulated using the computational fluid dynamics (CFD) approach. The impeller motion was integrated in the geometry using the multiple reference frame (MRF) technique. The presence of non-linear source term and the highly coupled nature of transport equations of the polymerization, made the convergence difficult to achieve. The effects of the impeller speed, the input-output locations and the residence time on the polymerization in the CSTR were investigated. The CFD simulation shows that good mixing remained limited to the impeller region. Regions far from the impeller remained unmixed due to high viscosity of the polymer mass. The path lines of the particles, released at the inlet, were also generated to analyze the reaction progress as the chemicals travel throughout the reactor. The monomer conversion computed using the CFD model was compared to data reported in the literature. Conversion predicted using the CFD model is in good agreement with that obtained from the CSTR model at low residence time. However, the CFD predicted coversions were higher than those calculated from the CSTR model, at high residence time. It was found that the input-output locations had significant effect on the conversion and the homogeneity in the CSTR.