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Latin American applied research

Print version ISSN 0327-0793


GROSSO, W. E.  and  CHIOVETTA, M. G.. Modeling a fluidized-bed reactor for the catalytic polimerization of ethylene: particle size distribution effects. Lat. Am. appl. res. [online]. 2005, vol.35, n.1, pp.67-76. ISSN 0327-0793.

Particle size distributions in the output stream of commercial, fluidized-bed reactors for ethylene polymerization are analyzed using a mathematical model. The impact on the overall reactor performance of the universe of sizes for the particles in the bed, with only a fraction of them being extracted in the product flow, is studied. For the output stream, product size distribution is modeled using both triangular and generalized gamma functions. Extraction system parameters are employed to model the particle quantity and sizes. The importance of the proper modeling of the extraction system is shown through the analysis of the effects several output schemes have on the particle size distribution inside the fluidized-bed. Some of the main reactor variables, such as yield and temperature, are studied for several distributions. Operating variables, such as catalyst feed rate, are varied according to the reactor capacity in a typical, 12 meter bed, 130,000 ton/year reactor. Predictions indicate higher output rates for higher catalyst loads, as expected. A shift towards smaller particle sizes in the product and in the bed is observed when increasing catalyst load. Bed fluidization and heat exchange conditions are shown as affected by size distributions. Results show that it is appropriate to include both product and bed particle diameter distribution when studying the reactor performance.

Keywords : Mathematical-Model; Fluidized-Bed; Size-Distribution; Polyethylene; Polymerization.

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