Detailed population balance modelling of TiO<$_{2}$ synthesis in an industrial reactor

30 Oct 2017

This paper uses a network of ideal flow reactors and a detailed population balance model to study the evolution of the size and shape distributions of pigmentary titanium dioxide, formed under industrial synthesis conditions. The industrial reactor has multiple reactant injections, a tubular working zone in which the exothermic reaction is completed, and a cooling zone. A network of continuously stirred tank reactors is used to model variation in composition around the feeds and plug flow reactors with prescribed temperature gradients are used to describe the working and cooling zones. The quality of the industrial product depends on its morphology, and this is influenced by factors including temperature and throughput. In this paper, a multivariate particle model is accommodated using a stochastic method and the particle morphology is characterised in terms of the distributions of primary and aggregate particle diameters, number of primary particles per particle and neck radii of connected primary particles. Increasing temperature or residence time is shown to produce larger particles. Qualitative similarities are highlighted between such findings and previous studies. The throughput studies are also in qualitative agreement with empirical industrial experience. There is scope for extending and improving the current model; however, it is suggested that insights of this type could be used to inform the design and operation of the industrial process.