Online ISSN : 1881-1299
Print ISSN : 0021-9592
Chemical Reaction Engineering
Ultrasound to Enhance a Liquid–Liquid Reaction
Anne-Marie WilhelmFréeric LaugierRana KidakBerthe RatsimbaHenri Delmas
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2010 Volume 43 Issue 9 Pages 751-756


Liquid–liquid mass transfer with ultrasound was investigated experimentally during the hydrolysis of n-amyl acetate. Power ultrasound is supposed to improve the yield and kinetics of such multiphase chemical reactions thanks to the mechanical effects of cavitation. Indeed, implosion of micro-bubbles at the vicinity of the liquid– liquid interface generates disruption of this surface, and enhances mixing in the liquid around the inclusion, thus improving mass transfer between the two phases. This effect has been demonstrated here on the hydrolysis of n-amyl acetate by sodium hydroxide, a rather slow reaction but influenced by mass transfer; the reaction is carried out in a glass jacketed reactor, 500 mL of volume, equipped with a Rushton turbine and a 20 kHz sonotrode dipping in the solution. The ester is initially pure in the organic dispersed phase, and sodium hydroxide has an initial concentration of 300 mol/m3; one of the products, pentanol partitions between the two phases and the sodium salt stays in the aqueous phase. The initial apparent reaction rate is measured from the record of the conductivity giving the concentration of alkali versus time. The reaction rate was always found to increase when ultrasound is superimposed to mechanical stirring (at 600 rpm), with a positive influence of input power (20 and 50 W). When varying initial concentration (300 and 600 mol/m3), temperature (36 and 45°C) and ultrasound emitter (sonotrode or cuphorn), the benefit of ultrasound over mechanical agitation was systematic. The only case of a weak influence of ultrasound was the sonication of a dense medium, containing 23% of organic phase and impeding the propagation of ultrasound.

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© 2010 The Society of Chemical Engineers, Japan
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