Demand of free-phthalate plasticizers has increased due to the concern about the effect that could have phthalate compounds in the human health and the trend in market to make bio-based products. Taking into account that the tributyl citrate is a potential compound to replace the phthalate plasticizers, mainly in applications that are in contact with the people like toys, medical devices and food packing, one industrial batch process for it production has been modeled.
The tributyl citrate production process involves three consecutive reactions in equilibrium, where mono and dibutyl citrate like intermediate products and water like sub-product are obtained. The process is performed in a reactor coupled to a distillation column and a decanter, the reaction take place in the liquid phase and currently is doing at constant temperature. During the operation, the vapor phase generated in the reactor that is composed by water and butanol is carried to distillation column. In the bottom of this column, butanol is obtained and recirculated to the reactor, whereas in the top, the result is a mixture water-butanol with a composition near to the binary azeotropic (heterogeneous) point. This stream is cooled and sent to the decanter, where, due to the liquid-liquid equilibrium effects, two liquid phases are obtained. Organic phase that is rich in butanol is used like reflux for the column and the aqueous phase is removed of the system.
Considering the potential that have the tributyl citrate like substitute of some phthalate plasticizers due to it is a bio-based and no-toxic product, and the trends in the plasticizers market for the next years, we have done a model for simulate this production process, with the objective to improve your productivity and thus increasing the competitiveness of this compound with respect to phthalates in terms to production costs. With the implementation of the model, we have reduced the energy consumption by kilogram of tributyl citrate and the production time by each batch.
See more of this Group/Topical: Computing and Systems Technology Division