What is Plug Flow Reactor

In a Plug Flow Reactor (PFR), sometimes called Continuous Tubular Reactor (CTR), one or more fluid reagents are pumped through a pipe or tube. The chemical reaction proceeds as the reagents travel through the Plug Flow Reactor. In this type of reactor, the changing reaction rate creates a gradient with respect to distance traversed; at the inlet to the PFR the rate is very high, but as the concentrations of the reagents decrease and the concentration of the product(s) increases the reaction rate slows down.

Get More Information

In a Plug Flow Reactor (PFR), sometimes called Continuous Tubular Reactor (CTR), one or more fluid reagents are pumped through a pipe or tube. The chemical reaction proceeds as the reagents travel through the Plug Flow Reactor. In this type of reactor, the changing reaction rate creates a gradient with respect to distance traversed; at the inlet to the PFR the rate is very high, but as the concentrations of the reagents decrease and the concentration of the product(s) increases the reaction rate slows down.

The idealized PFR model assumes no axial mixing: any element of fluid traveling through the reactor doesn't mix with fluid upstream or downstream from it, as implied by the term "plug flow". Reagents may be introduced into the PFR at locations in the reactor other than the inlet. In this way, a higher efficiency may be obtained, or the size and cost of the PFR may be reduced.

A PFR has a higher theoretical efficiency than a CSTR of the same volume. That is, given the same space-time (or residence time), a reaction will proceed to a higher percentage completion in a PFR than in a CSTR. This is not always true for reversible reactions.