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Barillas, Mary K (2008) CATALYTIC MICROCHANNEL REACTORS FOR CLEAN, INTRINSICALLY SAFE PROCESSES. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Chemically reacting flow occurs in many industrial settings such as combustion, catalysis, chemical synthesis, materials processing, etc. It is particularly important because of its function in catalysis, since catalysis accounts for 90% of the processes in the chemical industry. Catalytic processes with temperatures in the range of 400-1000 degrees C are classified as high temperature. Some industrially relevant high temperature catalytic processes include combustion and partial oxidation of hydrocarbons for energy production, and catalytic cracking for oil refining [1].Microreactors, with characteristic dimensions less than one millimeter, have been shown to quench explosive reaction systems and are well worth exploring [2-5]. Microreactors have several advantages over conventional reactors, such as good thermal transport and increased surface-to-volume ratio. Microreactors can also be used to study explosive reaction systems such as hydrogen oxidation. Hydrogen oxidation is an important reaction for energy production through combustion and use in fuel cells. The reaction has wide flammability limits, 3-75 vol% of H2 in air, and very high flame velocities which can lead to strong explosions [6]. In order to avoid explosions and to operate this reaction safely, it would be ideal to run hydrogen oxidation via the catalytic pathway. The aim of this study is to investigate the use of microreactors for potentially explosive high temperature catalytic reactions through detailed numerical simulations, and the development of a modular silicon microreactor. In this study, simulations will be performed using the same two-dimensional boundary layer model and CRESLAF module (version CHEMKIN 4.0 will be used). These simulation studies show the suppression of the homogeneous radical formation, which allows for the safe operation of the hydrogen oxidation reaction. An experimental microreactor was designed using detailed numerical simulations in Fluent. A preliminary experimental setup was also fabricated.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Barillas, Mary Kmkb27@pitt.eduMKB27
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairVeser, Goetzgveser@engr.pitt.eduGVESER
Committee MemberWender, Irvingwender@engr.pitt.eduWENDERV
Committee MemberEnick, Robertenick@engr.pitt.eduRME
Date: 30 January 2008
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 27 November 2007
Approval Date: 30 January 2008
Submission Date: 12 November 2007
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Chemical Engineering
Degree: MSChE - Master of Science in Chemical Engineering
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: CHEMKIN; hydrogen oxidation; microreactor; FLUENT; ignition
Other ID:, etd-11122007-160209
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 20:04
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:51


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