Optimal Catalyst Distribution and Dilution in Nonisothermal Packed Bed Reactors

J. S. Buchanan, Sankaran Sundaresan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The problem of the optimal distribution of two different catalysts in a nonisothermal packed bed reactor is analyzed. State variable constraints, such as maximum allowable temperature, may be incorporated through a penalty function approach into the steepest ascent solution of this problem. Loading a wall-cooled reactor with two chemically different catalysts is compared to dilution of a single catalyst with inerts for temperature moderation. A criterion is presented for estimating whether catalyst dilution may be necessary in order to keep reactor temperature below some maximum allowable value. Conditions for optimal loading with a two-dimensional reactor model are presented and applied to catalyst dilution in a butane oxidation reactor. Suboptimal catalyst loadings are compared with the optimal loading.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-51
Number of pages19
JournalChemical Engineering Communications
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Apr 1987

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


  • Butane oxidation
  • Catalyst loading
  • Optimization
  • Packed bed reactors
  • Vanadium phosphate


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