Design & Validation of a Versatile Bench Scale reactor

Colton  Barnes, Texas A&M University

With increasing concern about emissions and the harmful health effects they cause, the challenge to develop a drivable vehicle with low emissions has been attacked with both engine development and new catalyst technologies. Consequently there is a continuing cycle of dramatic combustion refinement followed by catalyst material development to address those new exhaust compositions and conditions. Low temperature combustion (LTC) has been extensively investigated in recent years, in hopes of future implementation in vehicles due to its higher engine efficiency and lower NOx and particulate emissions as compared to conventional diesel combustion strategies. Unfortunately, LTC also results in increased CO and hydrocarbon (HC) emissions and therefore still requires aftertreatment devices such as the diesel oxidation catalyst, diesel particulate filter and selective catalytic reduction catalyst. – and perhaps, an ammonia slip catalyst or hydrocarbon trap.
In real world applications, study of aftertreatment devices is an inherently complex problem due to the multitude of variables. A bench-scale reactor system is proposed to reduce the complex nature of these variables and a reactor of this size has many added benefits over a large scale system. Synthesized gases have a much simpler composition than true engine exhaust, which allows for easier analysis. A system using synthetic gases also allows for more precise control and repeatable performance. Costs can also be high when testing on the full sized scale, therefore a bench-scale system would greatly reduce the cost when testing these devices [1]. The objective of this research is to design an integral, plug-flow, bench-scale reactor to study the kinetic and mass transport parameters of catalytic and non-catalytic heterogeneous reactions.

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