A two-phase model is proposed for describing the behavior of a fluidized bed reactor used for polyethylene production. In the proposed model, the bed is divided into several sequential sections where flow of the gas is considered to be plug flow through the bubbles and perfectly mixed through the emulsion phase. Polymerization reactions occur not only in the emulsion phase but also in the bubble phase. Voidages of the emulsion and bubble phases are estimated from the dynamic two phase structure hydrodynamic model. The kinetic model employed in this study is based on the moment equations. The hydrodynamic and kinetic models are combined in order to develop a comprehensive model for gas-phase polyethylene reactor. The results of the model are compared with the experimental data in terms of molecular weight distribution and polydispersity of the produced polymer. A good agreement is observed between the model predictions and actual plant data. It has been shown that about 40% of the polymer is produced inside the bubble phase and as such cannot be neglected in modeling such reactors.
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