This paper describes a computational study of two-phase gas/liquid flow in mini/micro-scale reaction channels at low Reynolds numbers. The direct fluorination of toluene is used as a sample process. We consider two different configurations, a falling film and membrane microreactor. The detailed mathematical model of the processes in these configurations is based on mass and momentum conservation equations, which are solved numerically using the finite element method.
Gas-phase mass transport in both reactor configurations is analysed by means of the mathematical model. For fully developed gas flow a correlation for the gas-phase mass transport is developed in terms of the Sherwood and the relative Reynolds number. It is shown that the flow pattern in this regime and entrance effects strongly influence mass transport from the bulk flow to the reaction plane. The velocity profile for the falling film reactor yields higher Sherwood numbers compared to the membrane reactor. The latter has the advantage over the falling film reactor that the gas and liquid phases are decoupled and operating conditions and channel design can be freely chosen. (c) 2008 The Institution of Chemical Engineers. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
- mass transport
- entrance effects