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Stability Analysis of Reactive Multiphase Slug Flows in Microchannels

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.
Processes 2014, 2(2), 371-391;
Received: 5 December 2013 / Revised: 21 March 2014 / Accepted: 22 April 2014 / Published: 6 May 2014
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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. View Full-Text
Keywords: numbering-up; slug flow; flow stability; multiplicities; extraction numbering-up; slug flow; flow stability; multiplicities; extraction

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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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