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King Saud University

College of Engineering
Chemical Engineering Department
ChE 426: Heterogeneous Reaction Engineering 
Summer 1430/1431 (2010) Final Exam Prof. Ibrahim S. Al-Mutaz

1-a Normally catalytic reaction flows sequence of elementary steps which is considered one
prerequisite for a catalyst design since it helps in predicting and modifying the rate-determining
steps in chemical reactions. List the major steps in catalytic reaction. Give examples of some
reactions to explain these steps and distinguish between Langmuir-Hinshelwood and Eley-Rideal

1-b The use of a differential reactor to study the formation of methane from hydrogen and carbon
monoxide over a nickel catalyst gave the following rate of formation of methane:
0.0183 p H1/22 pCO
rCH 4 = , mole / g cat . s
1 + 1.5 p H 2
Suggest a mechanism and rate-limiting step that is consistent with the experimental observation
for the reaction: CO + 3H2 → CH4 + H2O.
It is desired to produce 20 tons/day of CH4. Calculate the catalyst weights necessary to achieve
80% conversion in:
(a) A fixed bed.
(b) A fluidized bed.
The feed consists of 75% H2 and 25% CO at a temperature of 500°F and a pressure of 10 atm.
Assume both molecular and atomic hydrogen are adsorbed on the surface.

2-a In mass transfer–dominated reactions, the surface reaction is so rapid that the rate of transfer of
reactant from the bulk gas or liquid phase to the surface limits the overall rate of reaction.
Consequently, mass transfer–limited reactions respond quite differently to changes in temperature
and flow conditions than do the rate-limited reactions. Drive an expression that describes the
variation of the flow and reaction in a packed bed reactor with the various reactor design

2-b A plant is removing a trace of Cl2 from a waste gas stream by passing it over a solid granular
absorbent in a tubular packed bed. At present, 63.2% removal is being accomplished, but it is
believed that greater removal could be achieved if the flow rate increased by a factor of 3, and the
packed bed tube length increased 50%. What percentage of chlorine would be removed under the
scheme proposed? (The chlorine transferring to the absorbent is removed completely by virtually
instantaneous chemical reaction). Assume g=1 for sphere and constant fluid properties.

Thoenes-Kramers correlations for mass transfer coefficient is given by:

1/ 2
k cd p φ 1  Ud p ρ 1 1  µ 1/ 3
( )( )( ) = ( )( )( )  ( )
DAB 1 − φ γ  µ 1−φ γ  ρDAB
3-a Develop a design equation for moving bed catalytic reactor with a freshly regenerated catalyst
enters the top of the reactor and moves through the reactor as a compact packed bed. The catalyst is
coked continually as it moves through the reactor until it exits the reactor into the kiln where air is
used to burn off the carbon. Assume the feed rates of the catalyst and the reactant do not vary with

3-b The catalytic reaction: A → B has been studied in a laboratory. The reaction can be modeled using
first order reaction kinetics: rA = -k CA. The lab has determined these kinetics from experiments
using compound A mixed with an inert. You have been asked to design an isothermal CSTR for a
pilot plant using this data. You suspect that there may be a catalyst poison in the actual feed and ask
the lab to run experiments using the feed for the pilot plant. They are astonished to find that the
conversion of A in the lab CSTR decays over a period of days; the logarithmic ratio of the observed
rate/fresh rate vary between 1.0 to 0.45 in 30 days.

Determine an expression for the activity of the catalyst. Assume that the concentration of poison is
constant. Also determine the conversion of A after 50 days.
Useful data: Q0 = 1 L/s, FA0 = 10 mol/L s, k = 0.1 L/(kg cat s), W = 50 kg.

4-a Perform a steady-state mole balance on species A as it

enters, leaves, and reacts in a spherical shell of inner radius r
and outer radius r + ∆r of the pellet to obtain an expression
that describes diffusion with reaction in a catalyst pellet to
develop an estimate for the effectiveness factor. As you may
know, in such systems equal molar counter diffusion (EMCD)
does not exist in catalyst pores, it may still be possible to
consider the reactant gases present in dilute concentrations.

4-b The importance of diffusion in catalyst pellets can often be determined by measuring the effect of
pellet size on the observed reaction rate. Consider an irreversible first-order reaction occurring in
catalyst pellets where the surface concentration of reactant A is CAS = 0.15 M.
Diameter of sphere (cm) 0.20 0.06 0.02 0.006
robs(mol/h/cm3) 0.25 0.80 1.80 2.500

(a) Calculate the intrinsic rate constant and the effective diffusivity.
(b) Estimate the effectiveness factor and the anticipated rate of reaction (robs) for a finite cylindrical
catalyst pellet of dimensions 0.6 cm x 0.6 cm (diameter = length).
Useful information:
k 3
cm 2
tanh(φ o )
φ = Rp e
k = 46 s⋅cm 3
DTA = 4.6 × 10 −3 s
DTA cat

Good Luck