Mass & energy balances coupling in chemical reactors for a better understanding of thermal safety

Sebastien Leveneur, Lamiae Vernieres-Hassimi, Tapio Salmi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Process safety is an important topic in the curriculum vitae of a chemical engineer. It can be a difficult course for the students and professors, because it is a frontier course between chemical engineering and safety. How to introduce this course? We think that this course should be introduced during the chemical reaction engineering, and more particularly during the mass and energy balances lectures. Thus, the students can more easily understand the concept of isoperibolic mode, secondary reactions, heat-flow rate due to chemical reactions, Semenov curves, etc. In this manuscript, we propose a pedagogical method to introduce this concept by using numerical simulation. In the first section, the roots of energy balance for the different reactors is derived. In the second section, mass and energy balances coupling is derived for the different chemical reactors. In the third section, the different thermal modes, i.e., isothermal, isoperibolic and adiabatic are described. Then, a tutorial by using a batch reactor with several exothermic reactions is treated and corrected. At this moment of the course, the instructor can introduce the last section about safety criteria by using the zero-order approximation. The rigorous mass and energy balances coupling should be introduced to the students before the current approximation made by the safety community, i.e., zero order, in process safety.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)17–28
JournalEducation for Chemical Engineers
Publication statusPublished - 2016
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • engineering education

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