Negative Impact of High Stirring Speed in Laboratory-Scale Three-Phase Hydrogenations

Ayranci İ. , Kresta S., Shen J., Semagina N.

INDUSTRIAL & ENGINEERING CHEMISTRY RESEARCH, vol.53, no.46, pp.18091-18094, 2014 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 53 Issue: 46
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Doi Number: 10.1021/ie5017927
  • Page Numbers: pp.18091-18094


An increase in stirring speed is generally considered to be an a priori means of reducing external mass-transfer limitations in fast three-phase hydrogenations that are performed in a stirred tank. We provide experimental evidence for a 300-mL stirred reactor that, above a certain impeller speed, the efficiency of gas-liquid mass-transfer decreases, resulting in the decreased reaction rate. The phenomenon is attributed to the high degree of gas recirculation with large cavities behind the blades. The recirculation may decrease hydrogen concentration in the remainder of the tank, thus decreasing the concentration gradient that controls mass transfer. The model reaction in this work was 2-methyl-3-butyn-2-ol semihydrogenation with Lindlar catalyst Pd-Pb/CaCO3. The test impellers were a Rushton turbine, a down-pumping pitched blade turbine, and up-pumping A340 impellers. The kinetic experiments were combined with the measurement of volumetric gas-liquid mass-transfer coefficient, flow pattern analysis and impeller power demand calculations. Although the study does not include kinetic analysis, it provides guidance to the three-phase reaction system analysis that the highest stirring speed may enhance mass-transfer limitations and should not be used without caution.