Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation

11-2019

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

M. Eng.

Department

Chemical Engineering

Degree Program

JB Speed School of Engineering

Committee Chair

Jaeger, Vance W.

Committee Member

Berson, Eric

Committee Member

Watters, James

Committee Member

Narayanan, Badri

Author's Keywords

EDC; Model

Abstract

Ethylene dichloride (EDC) is a precursor for the production of vinyl chloride (VCM) which is subsequently polymerized to form polyvinyl chloride (PVC). To convert EDC to VCM, EDC undergoes a pyrolysis process in the absence of oxygen at temperatures exceeding 500C. However, process yields are limited by the uncontrolled production of side-products that can degrade the quality of PVC and poison the reactor. Thus, tight process controls and costly separations guided by heuristics and plant operator experience are used to optimize EDC pyrolysis. To improve the process, I have programed a kinetic model of EDC pyrolysis based upon estimations of kinetic and thermodynamic parameters for known products and side-products. These parameters are activation energy over a range of 342.0 – 317.0 kJ/mol and temperature over a range of 450- 650 C. With this model, I have predicted the effects of process temperature and feed composition. However, due to high process temperatures and the intense environment in which EDC is converted to VCM, model parameters cannot be measured experimentally in most cases and must instead be estimated by various theoretical means. To address possible weaknesses in the methods used to estimate model parameters, I have calculated the effects of their misestimation and characterized model sensitivity. I aim to guide future research toward improved methods for kinetic and thermodynamic property estimation. I plan to generalize our method to apply to any complex reaction network so that the scientific and engineering community can discover targets for catalysis research.

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