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Abstract

A rotor-stator spinning disk reactor for intensified biodiesel synthesis is described and numerically simulated in the present research. The reactor consists of two flat disks, located coaxially and parallel to each other with a gap ranging from 0.1 mm to 0.2 mm between the disks. The upper disk is located on a rotating shaft while the lower disk is stationary. The feed liquids, triglycerides (TG) and methanol are injected into the reactor from centres of rotating disk and stationary disk, respectively. Fluid hydrodynamics in the reactor for synthesis of biodiesel from TG and methanol in the presence of a sodium hydroxide catalyst are simulated, using convection-diffusion-reaction multicomponent transport model with the CFD software ANSYS©Fluent v. 13.0. Effect of operating conditions on TG conversion is particularly investigated. Simulation results indicate that there is occurrence of back flow close to the stator at the outlet zone. Small gap size and fast rotational speed generally help to intensify mixing among reagents, and consequently enhance TG conversion. However, increasing rotational speed of spinning disk leads to more backflow, which decreases TG conversion. Large flow rate of TG at inlet is not recommended as well because of the short mean residence time of reactants inside the reactor.
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