An Improved Model for Polyether Production from 1,3‐Propanediol

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Vo, Anh-Duong Dieu
Elraghy, Aly
Spence, Rupert E.
McAuley, Kimberley
Mathematical Model , Polyether , Polymerization , Propanediol
A dynamic mathematical model is developed for production of Cerenol polyether from 1,3‐propanediol in a batch reactor system. The model accounts for polycondensation reactions and side reactions in the liquid phase and for mass transfer of volatile species to the vapor. Parameters are estimated using measured liquid‐phase concentrations of monomer, oligomers, water, and end groups as well as the mass and composition of condensate collected from the overhead condenser system. The proposed model uses novel probability factors to keep the model equations relatively simple while accounting for the complex influence of superacid catalyst on reaction rates. The model is a significant advance over previous Cerenol models because it better accounts for mass‐transfer rates and for the dynamic behavior of the condenser. In addition, the proposed model accounts for the inhibitory influence of water on polycondensation kinetics due to hydration of hydroxyl ends. The model equations and parameter estimates provide a substantial improvement in fit to the data, especially for long reaction times and high catalyst levels, resulting in a 97% reduction in the value of the weighted least squared objective function compared to equations and parameters from a previous model.