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Processes 2014, 2(2), 371-391; doi:10.3390/pr2020371
Article

Stability Analysis of Reactive Multiphase Slug Flows in Microchannels

,
* ,
 and
Laboratory of Chemical Reaction Engineering, Department of Biochemical and Chemical Engineering, Technical University of Dortmund, Dortmund 44227, Germany
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 December 2013 / Revised: 21 March 2014 / Accepted: 22 April 2014 / Published: 6 May 2014
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Abstract

Conducting multiphase reactions in micro-reactors is a promising strategy for intensifying chemical and biochemical processes. A major unresolved challenge is to exploit the considerable benefits offered by micro-scale operation for industrial scale throughputs by numbering-up whilst retaining the underlying advantageous flow characteristics of the single channel system in multiple parallel channels. Fabrication and installation tolerances in the individual micro-channels result in different pressure losses and, thus, a fluid maldistribution. In this work, an additional source of maldistribution, namely the flow multiplicities, which can arise in a multiphase reactive or extractive flow in otherwise identical micro-channels, was investigated. A detailed experimental and theoretical analysis of the flow stability with and without reaction for both gas-liquid and liquid-liquid slug flow has been developed. The model has been validated using the extraction of acetic acid from n-heptane with the ionic liquid 1-Ethyl-3-methylimidazolium ethyl sulfate. The results clearly demonstrate that the coupling between flow structure, the extent of reaction/extraction and pressure drop can result in multiple operating states, thus, necessitating an active measurement and control concept to ensure uniform behavior and optimal performance.
Keywords: numbering-up; slug flow; flow stability; multiplicities; extraction numbering-up; slug flow; flow stability; multiplicities; extraction
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).
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Munera Parra, A.A.; Antweiler, N.; Nagpal, R.; Agar, D.W. Stability Analysis of Reactive Multiphase Slug Flows in Microchannels. Processes 2014, 2, 371-391.

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