Falling film reactor modelling for sulfonation reactions

Falling film reactor modelling for sulfonation reactions

Russo, Vincenzo; Milicia, Antonio; Di Serio, Martino; Tesser, Riccardo

Chemical Engineering Journal 377 (2019) 120464




Falling film reactors represent the actual technology to run sulfonation reaction at pilot and industrial scale. The reaction is characterized by high thermal tenor, thus realizing a liquid reactive film flowing directly downwards on the internal reactor wall, it benefits of high heat exchange to the external jacket. The scale-up of such reactors is straightforward as it consists mainly on increasing the pipe numbers, with heat exchanger shell/pipe archi- tecture. The main problem of this reactor solution is its modelling. The fluid-dynamics is complex to be fully described and the few models proposed in the literature lacks in rigorousness. The aim of the present work is the realization of a detailed reactor model able to describe sulfonation reaction in a falling film reactor. The simulations were compared with data collected on a pilot-plant.