Application 1004 Image showing viscous solution that could be treated with rotating bed reactor

High-viscosity applications made faster

Liquids with high viscosity create problems for heterogeneous applications in traditional reactors. Packed bed reactors (columns) suffer from huge back pressures, and stirred tank reactors (STR) exhibit reduced reaction rates due to poor mixing. Both issues lead to longer processing times and expensive operations.

The rotating bed reactor (RBR) overcomes the challenges with viscous liquids, thanks to an effective generation of liquid flow regardless of viscosity. The back-pressure of a column or the ineffective mass transfer in the stirred tank are no longer limiting factors for liquid processing.

Examples of applications of viscous liquids are biotransformations, pesticide removal or the decolorization of oils such as

  • Vegetable oil
  • Citrus oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Palm oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Canola oil
  • Flaxseed oil
  • Fish oil

Working with transforming or treating oils? Reach out to us for a discussion.

This application note shows how viscosity affects the reaction time for a mass transfer limited reaction at a fixed rotational speed of an RBR. The RBR behaved very predictably and delivered reaction times that increased linearly with reaction media viscosity up to 500 mPa·s.

Graph showing treatment of viscous solutions with rotating bed reactor

Based on a decade of trials and work in our lab we are confident that the rotating bed reactor will do the job. If you have any questions or would like to discuss your application with us. Contact us!

Additional reading:


Conditions: Time for neutralization of sodium hydroxide (2 M, 50 µL) by acidic cation exchanger (Amberlite IRN 99, 20 mL) packed into a SpinChem® RBR S311 rotated at 500 rpm within a SpinChem® V311 flower baffled reaction vessel containing 500 mL solution consisting of 0-90% glycerol in water to adjust viscosity. The reaction was followed at two different temperatures (10 °C and 30 °C). Neutralization time was determined manually with 3-9 repeated measurements per viscosity using phenolphthalein (10 mg) as indicator. Viscosity was taken as standard tabulated values from J.B. Segur et al. in Ind. Eng. Chem 43 (1951) 2117. Median relative standard deviations of reaction time was 5.3% but had a tendency to increase at the highest viscosities.

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