Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) is produced at very high pressures in tubular or autoclave reactors. In the case of autoclave reactors, the properties of a particular LDPE grade produced depend on multiple operating decisions, such as operating pressure, set points for temperature in various zones of the reactor, and the choice and feed rate of chain transfer agents.

This presentation describes how an integral modelling approach that combines the advantages of SAFT physical property predictions, detailed kinetic modelling, and characterization of flow and mixing patterns using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) captures the effect of changes in operating conditions on the shape of Molecular Weight Distributions (MWDs) and end-use properties such as Melt Flow Index (MFI) and resin density. This type of modelling work helps in reducing development time for new polymer grades, and in evaluating new reactor designs. It has also been applied in the determination of operating conditions that preserve polymer properties when changing reactor throughput.

What this webinar covers

  • PSE’s approach to high-fidelity modelling of LDPE autoclave reactors
  • Configuration of PSE’s gSAFT thermodynamic model for the LDPE system, including branching effects
  • Kinetic modelling approach to capture details of the MWD
  • Use of PSE’s CFD Multizonal interface to capture complex flow patterns predicted by CFD simulations
  • Validation of the model using parameter estimation
  • Use of optimization to increase throughput without affecting end-use properties

Presenter(s)

Alejandro Cano
Alejandro Cano is the Practice Director of Polymerisation in the Energy and Chemicals Group at PSE. He has 15 years’ experience in the application of high-fidelity modelling to complex processes involving chemical reactions and heat and mass transfer across many different industries. He holds a B.Sc. in Environmental Engineering Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.), a M.Sc. in Civil Engineering from the University of California at Berkeley, and M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering from M.I.T. His professional experience prior to joining PSE includes 2 years as a Management Consultant at McKinsey & Company, 2 years as advisor to the Director of Mexico’s Environmental Protection Agency, and 2 years as Project Manager at Reaction Design, Inc.
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