Comparison of flow-reversal, internal-recirculation and loop reactors

Moshe Sheintuch*, Olga Nekhamkina

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


In this work, we compare the performance of flow-reversal, internal-recirculation and loop reactors. In the absence of analytical results we use asymptotic, approximate and simulated solutions and present some experimental results. As criteria for comparison we use the maximal temperature achieved and the robustness of solution. Experiments and simulations of ethylene oxidation in the flow-reversal and internal-recirculation reactor, showed that the technically simpler inner-outer internal-recycle reactor may operate better at low flow rates than that with flow reversal, but the conclusion is reversed at high flow rates. Using approximate solutions, we show the dependence of the maximal temperature on the inner-outer heat-transfer coefficient. Loop reactor can generate rotating pulse solution; we simulate such solutions for two asymptotic cases where the ratio of switching velocity (i.e., unit length/switching time) to pattern velocity is either around unity or very large. We compare them with solutions of 4-8 units reactors. The slow-switching regimes require a delicate control. The fast-switching solution is robust but its peak temperature depends on the kinetic parameters and reactor length, compared with that of the flow-reversal reactor where it depends mainly on bed conductivity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4065-4072
Number of pages8
JournalChemical Engineering Science
Issue number19
StatePublished - Oct 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Countercurrent internal recirculation reactor
  • Experiments
  • Modeling
  • Reverse flow and loop reactors


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