Saponification: A Comparative Kinetic Study in a Batch Reactor

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Ahmed, Arman Mohammed Abdalla
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University of Khartoum
Knowledge of kinetic parameters is of extreme importance for the chemical engineer prior to design of chemical reactors. This research focuses on the study of the kinetics of the saponification reaction between sodium hydroxide and ethyl acetate in a batch reactor. To achieve this, the batch reactor available at the unit operation laboratory (Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Khartoum) had been repaired and modified to suit the experimental procedures. The maintenance of the reactor includes change of bearing and bushes. The modification was made on the motion transmission from the electric motor to the agitator and on the temperature control system where a digital thermometer was used. Prior to the kinetic study, two methods were tried for the temperature control. The first method used an electric heater plus a cooling jacket around the reactor but failed to precisely control the temperature. The second method used consists of a water bath of controlled temperature where the reactants are heated to the required temperature before they were fed to the reactor which was also heated to the same temperature using the water jacket. This method was successful in achieving a tight control of the temperature, thus ensuring isothermal conditions. The reactions kinetics was studied through initially studying caustic soda concentrations dependency using an excess of ethyl acetate while maintaining isothermal conditions .Then the concentration dependency of ethyl acetate was evaluated using equal concentrations of reactants before operating at various condition to evaluate the temperature dependency. Analytical mathematical and computer methods were used to analyze the experimental observations and data. The results obtained (of evaluated kinetic parameters) showed, a clear agreement with the values vii from literature. Improved numerical accuracy has been shown in some cases to result as the use of polynomial fit relative to finite difference method. It is recommended that future work focuses on fully automating the batch reactor using appropriate hardware and software (Labview) components.
112 Pages
Power Law Model; Algorithm; Water; Hydrochloric Acid ; Gas Constant