A heterogeneously catalyzed gas phase reaction process was characterized regarding temperature and concentration profiles by means of three dimensional (3D) 1H magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (MRSI), using the exothermal ethylene hydrogenation as an example. Here, temperature mapping was achieved by using specifically designed thermometers filled with ethylene glycol. The impact of heat and mass transfer on the process performance was investigated by using two different monolithic catalysts with completely different heat and mass transfer characteristics: a regularly structured honeycomb monolith and a irregularly structured open-cell foam packing. The influence of these characteristics on the reaction zones within the monolithic catalysts was demonstrated by simulations that were based on 2D reactor models. To evaluate the applicability of temperature and concentration mapping by 1H MRSI for model validation, a predictive two dimensional model of the process was applied. The resulting simulations of temperature profiles and concentration distributions were in very good agreement with the experimental data with deviations below 9%. Conventional mass spectroscopic measurements provided further evidence of the accuracy of 3D MRSI measurements as well as the 2D reactor model.
- Gas phase reaction
- Magnetic resonance
- Reactor simulation
- Regularly and irregularly structured monolithic catalysts
- Temperature measurements