CFD analysis of a polybutene reactor to diagnose causes of polymer adhesion at inner walls

Damián Ramajo, Marcela Raviculé, Gabriel Horowitz, Mario Alberto Storti, Norberto Marcelo Nigro


In this work the flow patterns inside a polybutene reactor were studied by CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) using finite elements. Research was carried out with the aim to find possible causes of excessive adhesion of polymer and catalyst particles at the reactor inner walls. The multi-fluid formulation for a three-phase system formed by liquid reactor mixture, solid catalyst particles and small gas bubbles generated by the reaction was applied. Deposition of solid particles and a non-homogeneous flow distribution over the lower reactor walls were founded. Based on the hypothesis that adhesion phenomena is related to a combination of catalyst-particle precipitation at walls and locally low shear stresses, several operative and constructive modifications were proposed in order to reduce this phenomenon. [Submitted to LAAR]

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