Determination of the kinetics of ethene epoxidation

E.P.S. Schouten, P.C. Borman, K.R. Westerterp

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    Several problems and pitfalls in the use of laboratory reactors for the determination of the kinetics of ethene epoxidation over industrial silver on α-alumina catalyst are discussed. Also, commonly used methodologies for kinetic studies are dealt with because of the general nature of some problems. Some advice is given in choosing and using the appropriate reactor type. Further, a method is discussed to determine kinetics in a cooled tubular reactor without having to use heat transport relations. The activation and deactivation of the silver catalyst have been studied in a Berty-type reactor, in a novel internal recycle reactor and in a cooled tubular reactor. It was found necessary to activate the silver catalyst for approximately 170 reaction hours under reaction conditions to obtain a stable and reproducible catalyst activity. Thermal sintering was probably of importance in experiments at the maximum temperature of 543 K. Deliberate addition of small amounts of 1,2-dichloroethane resulted in rapid deactivation of the catalyst. The activity could be restored by addition of small amounts of ethane to the feed. Also, fluorine and silica have been shown to poison the catalyst. Differences in the behaviour of the catalyst in the three reactors may be attributed to the sensitivity of the catalyst towards tiny amounts of poisons present in the reactors and feed mixtures used.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)43-55
    Number of pages13
    JournalChemical engineering and processing : process intensification
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1996


    • Kinetic reactors
    • Selective oxidation of ethene
    • Deactivation
    • Activation


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