Computer aided design and operation of industrial poly(vinyl chloride) batch suspension polymerisation reactors
Authors: Krallis, A.; Kiparissides, C.
Source: Plastics, Rubber and Composites, Volume 37, Numbers 9-10, December 2008 , pp. 436-441(6)
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Abstract:A comprehensive multiscale, multiphase dynamic model is developed to simulate heterogeneous vinyl chloride (VCM) suspension polymerisation in industrial batch reactors. From the numerical solution of the proposed integrated model, the evolution of the molecular (i.e. molecular weight distribution, long chain branching, short chain branching, terminal double bonds) and morphological (i.e. particle size distribution, porosity) polymer properties in a PVC batch suspension polymerisation reactor can be predicted. In particular, the polymer molecular properties are determined by employing a kinetic mechanism which describes the VCM free radical polymerisation in both monomer and polymer rich phases. Semi-empirical and phenomenological expressions are used to describe the breakage and coalescence rates of dispersed monomer droplets in terms of the type and concentration of suspending agent, quality of agitation and evolution of the physical, thermodynamic and transport properties of the polymerisation system. The dynamic discretised particle population balance equation (PBE) is solved to calculate the dynamic evolution of the particle size distribution of the produced PVC. Furthermore, the primary particle size distribution (PPSD) inside the polymerising monomer droplets, which influences to a large degree the porosity of the final PVC grains, is determined by the solution of a PBE governing the nucleation, growth and aggregation of the primary particles. Finally, dynamic mass and energy balances are derived to assess the dynamic behaviour of the PVC batch suspension polymerisation reactors. The theoretical model predictions show good agreement with a comprehensive series of experimental data provided by the PVC industry. This verification of the proposed model makes it a powerful tool for the simulation of large scale PVC batch suspension polymerisation reactors.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2008-12-01
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