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Passive isothermalisation of an exothermic reaction in flow using a novel "Heat Pipe Oscillatory Baffled Reactor (HPOBR)"

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jonathan McDonough, Professor Anh Phan, Emeritus Dr David Reay, Professor Adam Harvey



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


In this study, a heat pipe was integrated with a mesoscale oscillatory baffled reactor for the passive temperature control of an exothermic reaction. The thermal/chemical performance of this new Heat Pipe Oscillatory Baffled Reactor (HPOBR) was compared to a conventional jacketed OBR (JOBR) using central composite experiment designs for an imination reaction between benzaldehyde and n-butylamine, in the absence of solvent. The variables in the experimental designs were reactant het flow rate (Re-n= 4-20), fluid oscillation intensity (Re-o = 123-491) and heat pipe fill ratio (FR = 11.5-26.5; methanol working fluid). In the JOBR, the fill ratio factor was replaced with jacket temperature (4-20 degrees C). Both reactors were able to reduce the maximum reaction temperature below the butylamine boiling point in all experiments. Overall, a 20-fold reduction in reactant volume and 13-fold improvement in reaction rate were obtained in the HPOBR for this imination reaction, compared with the same reaction using a solvent. Advantages of the HPOBR demonstrated here are isothermal operation and passive thermal control. Both reactors offer accelerated reaction rates and the potential for screening exothermic reactions. The HPOBR is a novel reactor design that provides a new approach for achieving green chemistry through solventless operation. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): McDonough JR, Phan AN, Reay DA, Harvey AP

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Chemical Engineering and Processing: Process Intensification

Year: 2016

Volume: 110

Pages: 201-213

Print publication date: 01/12/2016

Online publication date: 26/10/2016

Acceptance date: 22/10/2016

Date deposited: 11/01/2017

ISSN (print): 0255-2701

ISSN (electronic): 1873-3204

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.cep.2016.10.017


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