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In the lithium carbonate precipitation process, sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) is added to the
reactor. Lithium sulphate reacted with the excess sodium carbonates to produce lithium
carbonate precipitation and sodium sulphate as a by-product. This reaction have high yield
of production where the production can achieved up to 99.6% of lithium carbonate.

Throughout this chapter, the proposed design of reactor used will be discussed and choose.
For the lithium carbonate precipitation, many types of reactor can be used such as batch
reactor, semi-batch reactor and continues stirred tank reactor (CSTR). Besides, in this
design, the parameters such as material of construction, cost of materials, installation and
operation of the reactor will be observed. The best reactor will be chosen and chemical and
mechanical design will be taken into account.


In the plant, reactor is considered as the heart of plant which can control the production of
the product. Lithium carbonate precipitation reactor is the most important equipment in this
production plant as it efficiency determine the production rate of the plant. Thus, the
selection of the best reactor for the process is important. This process occurs in slurry phase
where solid-liquid are taken into consideration. Since this process is vital in the production
processes, the design should take into consideration towards the highest output efficiency,
effective production and highest yield production. The comparison between potential reactor
used in this process are summarized in the table below.
Type of Batch reactor Plug flow reactor Continuous stirred
reactor tank reactor

Raw materials are added One or more fluid is Reactants and product
Applicatio Disadvant Advantag Working

together at the start of the introduced into the are continuously

reaction and the outputs of reactor through the tube added and withdrawn
Suitable for are
the process reaction that
out after Highly
or pipe. adaptable with
Reaction using Highly
during the adaptable

required long reaction time high efficiency reactor. reactor for large scale
and has high conversion. Operated mostly in production and high
Only for small scale of Used of plug
horizontal. flowbereactor
Can used Design
efficiency is complex.

production, does not for small scale of Calculation is

recommend for large scale production is considered assumed perfect
production. used in dyes
Operated in Used in industries where
not economical. Utilize
mixing and suitable
reaction in
and pharmaceutical pressure and most chemical

industries. temperature are taken industries.

into consideration and

In order to achieve the desired conversion, a proper design reactor with implementation of
safety standard design is vital. For the high efficiency precipitation of lithium carbonate to
achieved, efficient mixing of the lithium sulphate and sodium carbonate is essential to
promote instantaneous reaction and to avoid undesired degradation reaction. The selection
of the appropriate reactor that suits the design basis needs to take into consideration. For
the lithium carbonate precipitation process, a continuous stirred tank reactor (CSTR) is
chosen as the best type of reactor that suitable for the condition. CSTR is suitable for a large
scale production and compatible with a process that needs high conversion and yield.

The CSTR is mounted with an agitator blade to ensure effective mixing as this
process needs to be in complete mixing between the reactants. CSTR is chosen instead of
batch reactor because it promising a large scale of production. For batch reactor, usually is
used for a small production plant with production rate below 500 ton/year. It is not suitable to
use plug flow reactor as our plant raw materials consist of slurry and solid material. The
CSTR is chosen as the design reactor in this plant. Figure below illustrate the configuration
of normal continuous stirred tank reactor (CSTR).
Figure: Continuous Stirred Tank Reactor


In lithium carbonate precipitation process, Sodium Carbonate will be added to the CSTR and
reacted with lithium sulphate and producing precipitate lithium carbonate and sodium
sulphate as a by-product. Chemical design is done to determine all possible reaction that
may occur in the reactor. In order to proceed with the chemical design, several assumptions
have been made which are:

1. The reactor behave as an ideal CSTR

2. The reaction is irreversible
3. The reactor is mounted with agitator to provide perfect mixing
4. The volume of reactor is constant throughout the process
5. No temperature gradient in the reactor (isothermal)
6. The density of material is constant throughout the process
7. The conversion is 99%

Chemical Reaction
In lithium carbonate precipitation process, sodium carbonate was added to the CSTR reactor
and contacted with lithium sulphate from the stream. The effluent of this process is lithium
carbonate which is the main product and sodium sulphate as the by-product of the process.
The chemical reaction involves in the process is as follows:

Li2SO4 (aq) + Na2CO3 (aq) Li2CO3(s) + Na2SO4 (aq)


Li2SO4 Lithium Sulphate

Na2CO3 Sodium Carbonate

Li2CO3 Lithium Carbonate

Na2SO4 Sodium Sulphate

Data Extraction

The data from mass balance and summarize flow entering the Reactor; R-104 is
represented in figure. The table summarize the reactor condition.
F31 =

XH2O =
F34 =
XLi2SO4 =
FH2O =

XNa2SO4 = FCaSO4=

FCaCO3 =
F33 =
FNa2CO3 =

XNa2CO3 FNa2SO4 =

FLi2CO3 =

Figure: Overall mass balance and composition of Reactor (R-104)

Table: Condition Inlet and Outlet stream of Reactor (R-104)

Condition Inlet Stream Outlet Stream

F31 F33 F34
Phase Slurry Solid Slurry
Temperature (oC) 95 oC 95 oC 95 oC
Pressure (bar) 3.447 3.447 3.447
Molar Flow 722.1309 36.80
Mass Flow (kg/hr) 18001.767 3900 21901.64
Density mix (kg/m3)

Determination of Concentration

By assuming that this reaction follows an elementary rate law, whereas the reaction orders
are identical with the stoichiometric coefficient of the reacting species for the reaction. The
rate law of the reaction can be written as:

r Li2 CO 3=kC Li 2 SO 4 C Na2 SO 4

Where k is the rate constant for the reaction with unit ( )
mol . s
To determine the concentration of each species in the reaction, a stoichiometric
relationship between the reacting molecules for the reaction is established and tabulated in
table below.

Where: Li2SO4 = A

Na2CO3 = B

Li2CO3 = C

Na2SO4 = D

Species Initial Changes Remaining Concentration

A FA0 -FA0X FA=FA0 - FA0X CA=CA0(1-X)

B = =
C A0 FA 0

B = =
C A0 FA 0

36.7959 kmol /hr

B =
36.3793 kmol /hr

B =1.011

Initial concentration of Lithium Sulphate

FA0 = CA0v0

The average volumetric flow rate of the system is vo = 3.337 m3/hr. Thus,

FA 0
C A 0=
kmol 1 hr 1000 g
C A 0=36.3793 x x
hr 3.337 m 3
1 kg

C A 0=10901.798

Concentration of Lithium sulphate

C A =C A 0 (1 X )

C A =10901.798 (10.99)

C A =109.02

Concentration of Sodium Carbonate

C B=C A 0 ( BX )

C B=10901.798 3

C B=228.94

Concentration of Lithium Carbonate

CC =C A 0 X

CC =10901.798 3
CC =10792.78 3

Concentration of Sodium Sulphate

C D =C A 0 X

C D =10901.798 3

C D =10792.78

Determination of Rate Constant

FA 0 X
r A

C A 0 v0 X

v k C A 0 (1 X )( B X )

k C A 0 (1X )(B X )

C A 0 (1X )(B X )

Retention time for the reaction is 2 hour (journal)

3600 s mol
2 hr x x 10901.798 3 (10.99)(1.0110.99)
1hr m
k =6.006 x 105
mol . s

Determination of reaction rate

[ B]
r A =k

5 m3 mol mol
r A =6.006 x 10 x 109.02 3 x 228.94 3
mol . s m m

r A =1.50 3
m .s

mol 1 kmol 3600 s

r A =1.50 x x
m . s 1000 mol 1 hr

r A =5.4292
m3 . h

Determination of reactor volume and dimensions

According to the definition of CSTR, the steady state mixed reactor equation is as below:

Input Output + Disappearance by reaction = 0


F A 0F A
r A

FA 0 X
r A

36.3793 x 0.99
5.4292 3
m . hr
V =6.67 m

Determination of Reactor Diameter and Height

The reactor diameter and height of CSTR reactor can be calculated using some

1. Take safety factor of 10%

2. Fully mixing
3. Ratio of all equipment measurement is 0.5 an diameter of vessel is equal to height of

Volume of CSTR


V = xH

From equation


D T =H

= D T =H



V = =6.67 m3

DT =

D T = 8.4925

D T =2.05 m
D T 2.1 m

Using safety factor of 10% for the height of the reactor to avoid the overflow and overheated
in the reactor. The height of the reactor can be calculated as below:

H=2.1 m x 1.1 H=2.31 m


In the mechanical part, in order to design the CSTR reactor, a few parameters that take part
in the design are:

1. Operating pressure and temperature

2. Material of construction (MOC)
3. Equipment dimension
4. Other important part

Material of Construction (MOC)

The material of construction selected for this design is stainless steel 316 because of its
ability to withstand corrosive materials. Sodium Carbonate is one of material with strong
base properties and the reaction can be corrosive in nature. In chemical industry, stainless
steel is usually used form construction of equipment to counter the corrosive reaction or
materials. Selection of material must take into account the suitability of the material for
fabrication especially welding and also the compatibility of the material with process

Welding Joint Efficiency

Joint efficiency is a factor included into the formula for calculating the vessel wall thickness.
The welding efficiency for the reactor design is selected to ensure the strength of the weld.
According to the book Chemical Engineering Design, the joint factor used in each design will
depends on the type of joint and amount of radiography required by the design code. The
typical values for maximum allowable joint efficiency are shown in the table (Sinnott, 2005).
Taking the factor as 1.0 for this design implies that the joint is equally as strong as the virgin
plate or fully radiographed.
Figure: Maximum allowable joint efficiency (Sinnott, 2005)

Corrosion Allowance

Other important criteria need to be considered in this design is the corrosion allowance. By
knowing the unexpected general corrosion rate and the anticipated plant or service life of a
part, we can calculate the extra thickness required for the design to resist corrosion from the
process. Corrosion allowance is added to the wall thickness to compensate for the metal
expected to be lost over the life of the equipment. The MOC chosen is stainless steel 316
has the best corrosive resistance. According to the ASME BPV Code, minimum corrosion
allowance chosen for this CSTR design is 4mm which is believe to be adequate to withstand
the corrosion problem for the reactor.

Design pressure

The operating pressure of the reactor is 3.447 bar which is 344.7kPa gauge. By taking the
design pressure 10% above operating pressure:

PDesign =1.1 x 3.447 x 0.1

PDesign =0.38 N /mm2

Design Temperature
The design temperature is equal to the operating temperature of the reactor:

T Design =95 oC

Maximum Allowable Design Stress

As reference to British Standard, PD 5500, the nominal strength which is also called
allowable design stress are listed in the standard for the range of material covered by the
standard. The typical design stress values for some common material are shown in table
below. By using interpolation methods, the design stress for this design is calculated.

Figure: Typical design stress for plate (Sinnott, 2005)

10095 145 X N
= X =147 2
10050 145165 mm

Therefore, the design stress for this CSTR reactor that operates at 95oC is 147 N/mm2

Metal Thickness
To ensure that the vessel is sufficiently rigid to withstand its own weight and any accident
load, the minimum wall thickness is calculated. For CSTR, a cylindrical shell, the minimum
thickness required to resist internal pressure can be determined by:

Pi D i
2 f Pi


e Minimum thickness, mm

Pi Design Pressure, N/mm2

Di Internal diameter, mm

f Design stress, N/mm2

( 0.38 ) ( 2.1 x 1000 )

e= e=2.72 mm
2 (147 )0.38

With the addition of 4mm corrosion allowance, the required metal thickness therefore,

e=2.72 mm+4 mm

e=6.72 mm

Design of Top and Bottom Cover Head

In design of top and bottom and cover head, there are many type of with various shape that
is commonly used for the reactor. The common type used is:

Ellipsoidal head
Tori spherical
Figure: Types of dooms head (a) Hemispherical (b) Ellipsoidal (c) Torispherical

Flat Head Design

t=D e


De Nominal plate diameter, 1.7 m

C Design constant for full gasket joint, 0.25

Pi Design pressure, 0.38 N/mm2

S Maximum allowable design stress, 147 N/mm2

E Welding joint efficiency, 1.0

t=1.7 x 103
0.25 x 0.38
147 x 1.0

t=43.22 mm
Adding the corrosion allowance of 4mm, therefore

t design=47.22mm

Hemispherical Head Design

Pi D i 0.38 x ( 2.1 x 103 )

t= t= t=1.36 mm
4 SE0.4 Pi 4 ( 147 ) ( 1 )0.4 ( 0.38 )

Adding the corrosion allowance of 4mm, therefore,

t design=5.36 mm

Ellipsoidal Head Design

P i Di 0.38 x ( 2.1 x 10 3)
t= t= t=2.71 mm
2 SE0.2 Pi 2 ( 147 ) ( 1 )0.2 ( 0.38 )

Adding the corrosion allowance of 4mm, therefore,

t design=6.71 mm

Torispherical Head Design

0.885 Pi RC 0.885 x 0.38 x ( 2.1 x 103 )

t= t= t=4.81 mm
SE0.1 Pi ( 147 ) ( 1 )0.1 ( 0.38 )

Adding the corrosion allowance of 4mm, therefore,

t design=8.81 mm

Table: Summary table for Metal Thickness Calculation for different design.

Type of Design Head Design Metal Thickness, mm

Flat Head 47.22 mm
Hemispherical Head 5.36 mm
Ellipsoidal Head 6.71 mm
Torispherical Head 8.81 mm

Selection of Top and Bottom Head Cover

Based on table, the ellipsoidal design cover calculation shows the metal thickness that about

the same with the body thickness 6.71 mm. For this design, ellipsoidal head cover is

chosen as the reactor head with thickness of 6.71mm .

Ellipsoidal Head Cover Dimension

Figure: Major and Minor axis of ellipsoidal (a) Major axis, R=2r (b) minor axis = r

From the figure, major axis is equal to the internal diameter of the cylinder which is 2.1m.

2 R=2.1 m R= =1.05 m

For the minor axis, the radius, r can be calculated by using formula:

R=2 r 2 r=1.05 m r= =0.525 m

The height of the dome is equal to the radius of minor axis, so:
H , ( h )=0.53 m

So, the total height of the reactor can be calculated as

H=2.31 m+ ( 0.53 m x 2 ) H=3.37 m

Agitator Design

Process of precipitation of Lithium carbonate need a proper mixing between Lithium Sulfate
and Sodium Carbonate in the reactor. The type of agitator used with the reactor will be
chosen based on type of mixing required, fluid properties, viscosity of the reactant and
capacity of the vessel.

For this design, pitch blade impeller is chosen for the reactor. Pitch blade using axial
flow pattern which it can solve two challenges of mixing; solid suspension and stratification.
Exceptional top to bottom motion in tank is providing especially when it is placed over the
center of a baffled vessel. Besides, the superficial and annular velocities can be altered to
adjust the mixing levels. Pitched blade impellers, which are known for the versatility and
ability to create a balance of flow and shear. Pitched blade impellers are particularly useful
when mixing viscous fluids with a lower bottom clearance as well as a shallower submersion.

Figure show the configuration of pitch blade impeller with axial flow turbine type. It is
using 4 blade and for mixing of medium viscosity material, it is more economical than 3
blades impeller. Material used for the impeller is the same as the reactor materials which is
stainless steel to avoid the corrosion problem inside the reactor.
Figure: Pitch Blade Turbines

Figure: Pitch Blade Type Impeller

The distance of the blade and bottom of reactor is assumed to be a one third of the reactor

2.1 m
Eb = Eb =0.7 m
The design of the blade is calculated based on assumption; the length of the blade is one
third of the reactor diameter:

2.1 m
Lb = Lb=0.7 m

The blade width is assume to be one fifth of the blade diameter,

0.7 m
W b= W b =0.2333 m

Shaft Design

Shaft is a crucial part of agitator as the function of shaft is to transmit the torque from the
drive train to the impeller in the reactor. In designing shaft, the design must accommodate
hydraulic and mechanical loads and vibration near the natural frequency must be avoided. In
order to avoid problems during the operation of the reactor, the design of the shaft must
have sufficient structural strength and allowed for the bending moment to withstand the
hydraulic force acting on the impellers in the reactor. A proper design of shaft is needed in
order to avoid any disturbance during the process of the reactor.

Agitator Power

The agitator power design is calculated using formula:

H p= pV


Hp Agitator power

p Power Consumption per volume, kW/m3

V Volume of reactor, m3

Typical power consumption per volume is given as 0.2kW/m 3 foe medium viscosity
(Sinnott, 2005). Therefore using the equation above, the power of agitator can be calculated
H p=(0.6 3
) x 6.67 m3

H p=4.002 kW H p=5.37 hp

Maximum torque TQ(max)

The torque transmitted by the shaft will have the maximum value above the uppermost
turbine. Since the power drawn by sealing devices is in significant, the calculation torque is
as below:

T Q (max )=63025


N Speed of impeller, 120 rpm (Towler and Sinnot, 2009)

5.37 N
T Q (max )=63025 x T Q (max )=2820
120 mm2

Maximum bending moment, Mmax

To calculate the maximum bending moment, the sum of the product of the hydraulic forces
and the distance from the individual impellers to the bottom bearing in the mixer drive is
defined. The equation below computes an empirical hydraulic force related to the impeller
torque acting as load at a distance related to the impeller diameter.

M m ax =19000 ( HNDL )


L Length of vessel

D Blade diameter
5.37 )( 2.31 ) N
M max=19000 (( 120 ( 0.7 ) ) M max=2805.83

Minimum shaft diameter

The relationship to meet the shear stress and tensile stress can be used to calculate the
minimum shaft diameter values. Since the bending moment and the torque act
simultaneously, these loads must be combined and resolved into a combined shear stress
and combined tensile stress acting on the shaft. The minimum shaft diameter for the
allowable shear stress can be calculated as follows:

ds =[ 16 T 2Q (max ) + M 2max
s ] 3

For stainless steel 316, the recommended allowable shear stress and tensile stress is 6000
and 10,000 psi respectively. Therefore, shear stress diameter can be calculated as below:

ds =
[16 28202 +2805.832
( 6000 ) ] 3
d s =1.5 d s =3.81cm

Tensile stress diameter is calculated using,

[16(M max T Q ( max )+ M

2 2
max ) 3
dt =

dt =
[16(2805+ 28202 +2805.832)
( 10000 ) ] 3

d t =1.5117 d t =3.84 cm
Therefore, to meet the shear and tensile stress requirement, a 3.9 cm of shaft
diameter is recommended for this design.

Weight of individual impeller

The weight of impeller can be varied based on the manufacturer. The following calculation is
only to determine the approximate weight of impeller. Table below shows the standard hub
weight that available in the industries. The weight will then be added to the weight calculated
in the equation.

Figure: Standard Hub Weight (Edward, Victor, & Suzzanne, 2004)

Based on the table, the weight of the hub is estimated to be 5kg as the shaft diameter is 3.9
cm. Therefore, to calculate the individual impeller, the following equation is used:

0.35 D3 H p
W b= ( N )


Wb Weight of Blade

Hp Agitator Power
N Speed Impeller
0.35 ( 0.7 )3 (5.37)
W b= ( 120 ) 2

W b =0.0733 kg

By adding the hub weight,

W =5 kg+0.0733 kg W =5.0733 kg W 5.1 kg

Equivalent weight of impellers

W e =W +


Wimp Weight of impeller

w Shaft diameter

L length of shaft

Length of shaft = height of reactor distance between bottom reactor and impeller)

0.039 ( 2.310.7 )
W e =4 ( 5.1 ) + W e =20.4 kg

Natural Frequency Analysis

6 2
0.388 x 10 ( d Fm )
N c=
L W s L+ Sb


d Diameter shaft, mm

Fm Carbon steel factor =1

Ws Equivalent weight

Sb Bearing span

L = 1610mm

6 2
0.388 x 10 ( 39 x 1 )
N c=
1610 20 1610+0.35

N c =2042.49 rpm

The operating speed assume for this design is 120 rpm, since the natural frequency
analysis calculated is more than the operating speed, the 3.9cm shaft is acceptable for this
reactor design.

Baffles Design

Baffles are flow directing or obstructing vanes or panels used in vessels (tanks), for this case
is in CSTR reactor. Baffles are design to support tube bundles and direct the flow of fluids for
maximum efficiency. In chemical reactor, baffles are often attached to the interiors walls to
promote mixing and thus it will increase the heat transfer and possibly chemical reaction
rates. Baffle design is one of important criteria to ensure there is adequate baffling for good
mixing by providing a flow pattern throughout the entire vessel. Baffles also installed in
reactor to avoid excess swirling and vortexing, assure a stable and consistent power draw
and produce more uniform radial shaft load.

Figure: Baffles Design

This reactor is equipped with four baffles with one tenth of the tank diameter in width as
illustrated in the figure above. Baffle width can be calculated using formula:

1 1
W b= x Di W b= x 2.1 W b =0.21 m
10 10

Reactor Jacket Design

This reactor is assumed to be isothermal reactor which means there is no heat in or out of
the reactor during the process. Jacketed vessel is a container that is designed for controlling
the temperature of its contents. By using the cooling or heating jacket around the vessel
through which a cooling or heating fluid is circulated. For this design of CSTR, an external
jacket is chosen to be the heat transfer medium instead of coil as the process involving a
chemical with high base which have high potential of corrosion.

There are several types of jacket in industries, which are conventional jackets, half
pipe coils jacket, dimple jackets and plate coils. Conventional jacket is usually in reactor
jacket design. A second shell is installed over a portion of the vessel, creating an annular
space within which cooling or heating medium flows. A simple conventional jacket, with no
internal components, is generally very inefficient for heat transfer because the flow media
has an extremely low velocity resulting in a low heat transfer coefficient.

The heating medium used in this design is hot water inlet temperature of T j,0 =100oC. the
operating temperature of the reactor is maintained at 95 oC throughout the process. The
heating jacket is design to replace the heat loss caused by heat of reaction during the
process. The heat added by the reactor is Q = 179008.96 W. the properties of hot water at
100oC is obtained from Improved international formulations for the viscosity and thermal
conductivity of water substance and tabulated in table.
Table: Physical Properties of Water at Tc,in=100oC

Physical properties Tin =100oC Unit

Viscosity, 281.8 Pa.s
Density, 958.4 Kg/m3
Thermal conductivity, 0.6791 W/m.K
Heat specific capacity, 4215.9 J/kg.K

The total heat added by the cooling water can be calculated using this equation:

Qhw =hw C p ,hw T

The mass flowrate of hot water can be calculated as:

hw =hw vA


hw Density of hot water

v Velocity of hot water

A Cross-sectional area of the jacket

Using velocity of 0.2m/s to estimate the heat transfer coefficient and the thickness of

the wall is 6.72 mm as calculated in previous section, the heating jacket thickness is

assumed to be 100mm to aid the calculation, the inlet and outlet diameter of jacket can be

Inlet diameter of jacket,

D j =Dv +2t shell D j =2.1+ 2 ( 0.00672 ) D j =2.1134 m

Outlet diameter of jacket,

D jo =D j +2 t jacket D j =2.1134+ 2 ( 0.1 ) D j =2.3134 m

D j0
( 2D j )

hw =hw v

( 22.1134 2 )
hw =133.29
hw =958.4 (0.2)

For design of isothermal reactor, the heat released from the reactor is equal to the heat
added by the heating medium. Therefore the relationship of these two can be defined as,

Q=Qhw ( 179008.96 ) W = hw C p ,hw T

To determine the temperature different for heating water,

T =
hw C p , hw

T =
kg J T =0.3186 K
133.29 x 4215.9
s kg . K

Then the outlet temperature of the heating water leaving the jacket can be calculated as:

T j=T j , 0+ T T j=( 95+ 273 ) K + (0.3186 ) K T j=367.6814 K =94.68

Next, the surface area for the heat transfer is calculated by using overall heat transfer
coefficient, U for the reaction. To calculate U, the following formula can be used,

1 1 dW 1
= + +
U h 0 K hi


ho Enthalpy of heating water

hi Enthalpy of fluid mixture

dW Reactor wall thickness, 0.00672m

K Thermal conductivity of the fluid

Physical properties Tin =95oC Unit

Viscosity, 0.000350666 Pa.s
Density, 857.6077 Kg/m3
Thermal conductivity, 3.6420 W/m.K
Heat specific capacity, 2206.67 J/kg.K

Substitute h=CpT into the equation,

h=C p T

1 1 dW 1
= + +
U Cp w T j K Cpmix T

1 1 0.00672 1
= + +
U (4215.9)(367.6814) 3.6420 (2206.67)(368)

Edward, C., Victor, A., & Suzzanne, M. (2004). Handbook of Industrial Mixing.

Sinnott, R. K. (2005). Chemical Engineering Design. Elsevier Butterworth-