Design of tubular reactors in recycle systems

Costin S. Bildea, Alexandre C. Dimian, Susana C. Cruz, Piet D. Iedema

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Citations (Scopus)


The article presents an approach to design tubular reactors in recycle systems, based on non-linear analysis. A pseudohomogeneous plug-flow reactor model is used. It is assumed that the separation unit delivers product and recycle streams with fixed composition. The stand-alone reactor has a unique stable steady state. The coupled reactor-separation-recycle system shows four types of conversion versus plant Damköhler number bifurcation diagrams. A feasible steady state exists only if the reactor volume exceeds a critical value. For isothermal reactor, the steady state is unique and stable. For non-isothermal reactor, one or two steady states are possible. In the second situation the low-conversion state is unstable. In some parameter regions, the unique state is unstable. The design should ensure state unicity and stability, which are favoured by large heat-transfer capacity, low coolant temperature and high reactor-inlet temperature. A case study demonstrates that these phenomena can be easily found in real plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-72
Number of pages10
JournalComputers and Chemical Engineering
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 15 2004


  • Design
  • Non-linear dynamics
  • Reaction engineering
  • Recycle systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Computer Science Applications

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  • Cite this

    Bildea, C. S., Dimian, A. C., Cruz, S. C., & Iedema, P. D. (2004). Design of tubular reactors in recycle systems. Computers and Chemical Engineering, 28(1-2), 63-72.