Industry perspectives
Processing

Reactions in a viscous medium

Mixing products with a high level of viscosity (several thousand Pa.s) is a frequent industrial operation. Main industrial segments affected: chemistry, pharmaceuticals, petrochemistry, food.

These operators prepare complex formulations which involve multiple problems when it comes to defining production solutions. We must both produce highly complex products and implement  effective production solutions, managing two simultaneous limitations. Due to the effects of viscosity and the multiplication of sub-stages within the process, this operation is delicate to implement. Managing reactions in a viscous medium in an effective and economic manner is therefore a real industrial priority.

The keys to success:
A / Speeding up material transfers

It is difficult to control the creation of a homogeneous and good quality end product when the high levels of viscosity and chemical reactions occur simultaneously. In fact, mass transfers are  increasingly difficult to achieve in proportion to increasing viscosity. These mass transfers limit contact between reagents and therefore the rate of the chemical reaction. Suitable technology simplifies material exchanges by generating homogeneous flow for products with complex rheologies. On this basis, the chemical reactions implemented and required by the process to prepare the end product are accelerated compared with conventional equipment.

B / Controlling temperature gradients

Temperature control is also a key factor in obtaining a quality product. This physical value has a significant impact on changing viscosity. The equipment can be used to control temperature over the entire volume, avoiding temperature deviation and guaranteeing that the temperature required for the process is achieved. Over and beyond temperature-controlled zones, equipment
able to control the temperature in the reaction mass can be used to satisfy this critical limitation.

C / Controlling equilibrium for the reaction

Some chemical reactions produce by-products (gases, liquids or solids), which must be continuously removed to enhance yield. With polycondensation, we regularly face the need to remove water or other. Suitable technology can fulfil this role, ensuring the overall performance of the solution. A sign of performance: The improvement and optimisation of material and heat transfers in the entire volume can be used to reduce the quantity of additives required (solvent, thinner, surface agent) to achieve the physical properties of the finished product.
Reducing the proportion of additives will improve the purity of the finished product, while substantially simplifying the purification phases.

Thematic folder : Mixing when facing new industrial priorities White

How can mixing, which is simply defined as the work of viscous products, relate to the industrial priorities of today and the future?
The following pages provide an overview of this viewpoint.

Thematic folder : Mixing when facing new industrial priorities White