Investigation of the effect of flow structure on the photocatalytic degradation of methylene blue and dehydroabietic acid in a spinning disc reactor

Irina Boiarkine, Stuart Norris, Darrell Patterson

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The ultraviolet irradiated thin lm coated spinning disc reactor is a new technol-
ogy for the intensication of heterogeneous photocatalytic reactions. This reactor
has previously been found to have a reaction rate maxima for the photocatalytic
degradation of methylene blue across a spinning disc reactor. The reaction rate
maxima occurred at an intermediate flow rate of 15mL/s and rotational speeds of 100 and 200rpm, where the reaction kinetics switched from first order to second order with a change in the flow structure. The findings of this work show that the reaction rate maxima is most likely in part caused by periodic forcing from the peristaltic pump increasing the mass transfer of the oxygen. The enhancement in the rate of oxygen transfer to the surface of the disc would increase the charge carrier separation in the catalyst, increasing the reaction rate kinetics. Oxygen being a second limiting reactant would also explain the presence of the second order kinetics. The flow regimes on the surface of the disc change between smooth, spiral and irregular waves depending on the flow rate and rotational speed. The effect of flow rate modulation only occurs when the flow is undisturbed by asymmetric outflow conditions interfering with the
flow regime otherwise present on the disc. The initial surface rate of reaction for methylene blue was approximately 0.5x10^(-7)mol/m2/s for most
operational conditions, but the fast rate of reaction achieved with periodic forcing was 3.7x10^(-7)mol/m2/s, seven times greater than that achieved without the periodic forcing. Overall, this work shows that periodic forcing should be a key feature in achieving rate enhancements in spinning disc reactors, setting a new precedent in spinning disc reactor operational parameter choice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-171
Number of pages12
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Early online date16 Feb 2013
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2013


  • spinning disc reactor
  • dehydroabietic acid
  • photocatalysis
  • methylene blue
  • periodic forcing
  • process intensification
  • thin film catalyst


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