The design of chemical processing reactors is curently based on a set of assumptions about the chemical kinetics occurring in them. A generally stated assumption is that the chemical reaction follows a first-order or second-order mechanism. The most common unstated assumption is that we can prove the first assumption graphically. Unfortunately, graphical coincidence does not constitute logical proof. Thus, many chemical reactors are designed via a flawed procedure.
For the past several years, we have been investigating whether it is possible to formulate a mechanism-free chemical kinetics. This concept improves the inherent safety of chemical plants since it removes the many assumptions required by our current reactor design procedure.
We have studied several common chemical reactions and demonstrated that they can be fully quantified without first assuming a mechanism for the chemical reaction. We have reported our results in the last several Spring AIChE meetings.
To extend the scope of our concept, we have been applying it to published kinetic studies. We discuss in this presentation the results of our literature investigation with regard to developing a mechanism-free chemical kinetics.