A novel process for the synthesis of unsaturated polyester

M. Shah*, E. Zondervan, M. L. Oudshoorn, A. B. de Haan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Traditionally polyester production is done in a batch reactor equipped with a separation column for a batch distillation. A promising alternative for the intensification of this process is reactive distillation. The aim of this paper is to study the conceptual design of reactive distillation and to find out whether reactive distillation is potentially interesting compared to batch reactor process. Therefore, a reactive distillation model is developed and sensitivity analysis is used to obtain the design and operational parameters for the reactive distillation process. These parameters are the required number of stages, required residence time, feed ratio, reflux ratio and temperature of feed stream. The model predicts the polymer attribute, isomerization and saturation composition of the polymer in the range of industrial polyester production data. The simulation study shows that the total production time of polyester in a continuous reactive distillation system is reduced from 12. h to 1.5-2. h compared to the industrial batch reactor process. The equilibrium conversion is also raised by 7% compared to the conventional process. The model demonstrated that reactive distillation has the potential to intensify the process by factor of 6-8 in comparison to the batch reactor.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)747-756
Number of pages10
JournalChemical Engineering and Processing: Process Intensification
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Intensification
  • Modelling
  • Polyesterification
  • Reactive distillation
  • Unsaturated polyester


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