Chemical Engineering Science, Vol.84, 540-543, 2012
Catalyst as ignition source of an explosion inside a microreactor
The present issue reports on a specific aspect of safety engineering of the heterogeneously catalysed oxidation of ethene in a continuous-flow microreactor. Conversion of ethene and the corresponding surface temperature of the catalyst were monitored for different reactor temperatures and total flow rates with a stoichiometric ethene/oxygen mixture for total oxidation. Safe operation of the highly exothermic oxidation was possible, but not in the whole parameter range. At high reactor temperatures and flow rates, ignition of an explosion inside the microreactor caused by a hot spot on the surface of the catalyst was observed for the first time. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.