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A general criterion to define runaway limits in chemical reactors: AWARD project (Advanced Warning and Runaway Disposal)

Project ID: G1RD-CT-2001-00499
Funded under: FP5-GROWTH


Final report on the theoretical verification of the divergence criterion, within Growth Project G1RD-CT-2000-00499

A general runaway criterion valid for single as well as for multiple reaction types, and for several types of reactors, i.e. batch (BR), semi-batch (SBR) and continuous stirred tank reactor (CSTR) has been developed. The criterion says that we are in a runaway situation when the divergence of the system becomes positive (div>0) on a segment of the reaction path. We recall that the divergence is a scalar quantity defined at each point as the sum of the partial derivatives of the mass and energy balances with respect to the correspondent state variables. Only conversions that contribute to the heat balance should be included in the calculation. The application of the runaway criterion is illustrated for several kinetic schemes, including consecutive, parallel, equilibrium, mixed kinetics and polymerisation reactions. Furthermore, different types of reactors, i.e. BR, SBR, and CSTR; and operating conditions, i.e. isoperibolic and isothermal, have been analysed. The runaway limits (or parametric sensitive regions) have been compared with previous criteria. The results show that this is a general runaway criterion that can be used to calculate the runaway limits for chemical reactors. A considerable advantage, over existing criteria, is that it can be calculated online based only on temperature measurements and, hence, it constitutes the core of an early warning runaway detection system we are developing.

Additional information

Authors: ZALDÍVAR J M, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Environment and Sustainability, Ispra (IT);CANO J, Institut Quínic de Sarriá-URL, Barcelona (ES);ALÓS M A, Institut Quínic de Sarriá-URL, Barcelona (ES);SEMPERE J, Institut Quínic de Sarriá-URL, Barcelona (ES);NOMEN R, Institut Quínic de Sarriá-URL, Barcelona (ES);LISTER D, Dipartimento di Chimica Industriale ed Ingegneria dei Materiali, Università di Messina (IT);MASCHIO G, Dipartimento di Chimica Industriale ed Ingegneria dei Materiali, Università di Messina (IT);BOSCH J, Carlo Cattaneo University, Castellanza (IT);STROZZI F, Carlo Cattaneo University, Castellanza (IT);ALOS M A, Institut Quinic de Sarria-URL, Barcelona (ES)
Bibliographic Reference: EUR 20250 EN (2002), pp.54. Euro: Free of charge
Availability: Available from European Commission, JRC Knowledge Management Unit, Ispra (IT) Tel: +39 033278 9843 or +39 033278 9864 Fax: +39 033278 9623 E-mail:
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