Optimization of a catalytic reactor subject to temperature constraints

J. D. Paynter, J. S. Dranoff, S. G. Bankoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The optimal design for maximum yield of SO3 in the oxidation of SO2 over a commercial vanadium pentoxide catalyst is considered. The control variables are the wall heat flux and the reactor radius, both as functions of axial distance. The volume and length of the reactor are both specified, as well as the maximum radial-average temperature. The problem is attacked by a partial averaging technique, whereby the full set of state partial differential equations are integrated forward, but a set of ordinary functional-differential adjoint equations are integrated on the backward pass in order to determine the new estimate of the optimal control. It is found that the optimal design consists of two approximately constant-radius adiabatic sections separated by a small intercooler, which is fairly close to existing commercial designs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)705-713
Number of pages9
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1972

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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