Investigating the effect of increasing cloth size and cloth number in a spinning mesh disc reactor (SMDR): A study on the reactor performance

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The spinning mesh disc reactor (SMDR) is a rotating catalytic reactor with a potential to facilitate process intensification. In this study, the scale-up of a newly designed SMDR has been demonstrated by increasing (i) cloth size and (ii) cloth number for tributyrin hydrolysis and nitroaldol condensation reaction. The effect of spinning speed, cloth size and cloth number was investigated using design of experiments and the results show an increase in the cloth size or cloth number leads to a higher reaction rate. This is due to (i) an increased catalyst loading with increase in surface area and volume of the cloth stack and (ii) reduced film thickness with increasing shear forces and longer residence times improving the overall mass transfer. Addition of multiple cloths of increasing cloth sizes further improved the reaction rates at higher substrate concentration. A maximum reaction rate of 6.9 mM min−1 and 0.043 mmol min-1 was obtained for three 50 cm cloths for tributyrin hydrolysis and nitroaldol condensation reaction respectively. These results highlight the potential routes for the SMDR scale-up without a loss in the reaction efficiency for a range of catalytic reactions, thus allowing for a tuneable operation of the SMDR for industrial applications.
Original languageEnglish
Article number107780
Number of pages7
JournalChemical Engineering and Processing: Process Intensification
Early online date9 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2020


  • Spinning mesh disc reactor
  • Reaction scale-up
  • Increased catalyst loading
  • Multi-cloth stack
  • Reaction intensification

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