What Are the Applications of Stirred Tank Reactors?

Stirred Tank Reactors

Have you just entered the industrial world and have many questions on your mind? If so, you have come to the right place.

The industrial world (while very exciting) can be complicated and confusing at times. You may feel pressured because your colleagues have more experience and knowledge than you, and you don’t want to be left out of the competition.

But don’t worry, because first of all, there is always a first time for everything. And secondly, you can find beneficial information in this post that you might need in your job. So read on because we are going to discuss the application of stirred tank reactors.

What Is a Chemical Reactor?

A chemical reactor is a contained volume in which chemical reactions take place. In chemical engineering, chemical reactors are also called process vessels. These reactors are one of the best unit operations in chemical process analysis. Chemical engineering knowledge is required to design a chemical reactor.

Engineers need to study different reactors to increase the net present value (NPV). They ensure that the reaction proceeds at the highest possible efficiency. In this way, they reduce the capital costs required to purchase and operate them while increasing the yield of the product.

Typical operating costs include energy extraction, energy supply, raw material costs, labor, etc. Some engineers convert energy to improve pressure, heating or cooling, friction pressure drop, or agitation. You should know chemical kinetics to analyze and design these systems.

Now that you know what a chemical reactor is, let’s talk about its types.

Types of Chemical Reactors

Basically, there are two types of chemical reactors: tanks and pipes or tubes. Plug-flow and laminar-flow reactors use tubes or pipes, while reactants are mixed in tanks throughout the volume.

Batch reactors and continuous reactors can use either type. They may contain one or more solids (reagents, catalysts, or inert materials). However, the outcomes and reagents are usually in the form of fluids (liquids or gases). If you use a continuous process, the reactors typically run in a steady state. On the other hand, if you use a batch process, the reactors operate in a transient state.

When you start a reactor, it goes through a transient state. The same rule applies to starting a reactor after a shutdown. Therefore, you should consider the time factor when selecting a suitable process.

What Is a Continuous Stirred Tank Reactor?

Let’s answer this question with another question: what is the difference between a Continuous Stirred Tank Reactor (CSTR) and a batch reactor?

Batch reactors are large enough to handle the entire inventory of a complete batch cycle. Continuous reactors, on the other hand, are typically smaller and operate as a flowing stream. As mentioned earlier, engineers use pipes to design continuous reactors.

CSTR reactors can effectively mix materials and have a steady-state performance with uniform properties. Composition-wise, the output is ideally the same as that of the material in the reactor. The composition depends on the residence time and reaction rate.

As an engineer, you may need to connect multiple CSTRs together to form a cascade if a reaction is too slow or if there are two immiscible or viscous liquids in the reactor and you need a high, stirring speed.

A CSTR is the opposite of a plug flow reactor (PFR) because it requires an ideal mixing situation.

Now that you have the basic knowledge you need let’s move on to stirred tank reactor applications.

What Are the Applications of Stirred Tank Reactors?

CSTRs are generally used in industrial processing, especially in reactions with homogeneous liquid phase flow and constant agitation. But not only that. These reactors are also used in the pharmaceutical industry and biological processes, such as cell cultures and fermenters.

What Are the Advantages of a CSTR Reactor?

The advantages of a CSTR reactor include:

  • You can easily control the temperature.
  • It is cheaper and easier to build than other systems.
  • You can easily access the inside of the reactor to analyze the process.
  • Moreover, you can connect multiple units together to achieve higher performance.
  • You can easily understand the behavior of this reactor, including mixing, reaction calorimetry, dosing capabilities, and chemical kinetics.

Bottom Line

In this rather technical post, we discussed what a chemical reactor is and its various types. You now know the definition of a CSTR reactor and its applications and advantages.

At Amar, we are ready to answer your questions 24/7 and meet all your requirements. To get started, please get in touch with us now.


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