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Mathematical modelling and experimental simulation of chlorate and chlor-alkali cells.
KTH, Superseded Departments, Chemical Engineering and Technology.
2001 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other scientific)
Abstract [en]

The production of chlorate, chlorine and sodium hydroxiderelies heavily on electrical energy, so that savings in thisarea are always a pertinent issue. This can be brought aboutthrough increased mass transfer of reacting species to therespective electrodes, and through increased catalytic activityand uniformity of current density distribution at theseelectrodes. This thesis will present studies involvingmathematical modelling and experimental investigations of theseprocesses. They will show the effect that hydrodynamicbehaviour has on the total current density and cell voltages,along with the effects on current density distributions andindividual overpotentials atthe respective electrodes.

Primary, secondary and psuedo-tertiary current densitydistribution models of a chlor-alkali anode are presented anddiscussed. It is shown that the secondary model presentsresults rather similar to the pseudo-tertiary model, when thecurrent density distribution is investigated, although thepotential distribution differs rather markedly. Furthermore, itis seen that an adequate description of the hydrodynamicsaround the anode is required if the potential distribution, andthereby the prevalence of side-reactions, is to be reasonablepredicted.

A rigorous tertiary current density distribution model ofthe chlorate cell is also presented, which takes into accountthe developing hydrodynamic behaviour along the height of thecell. This shows that an increased flowrate gives more uniformcurrent density distributions. This is due to the fact that theincreased vertical flowrate of electrolyte replenishes ioncontent at the electrode surfaces, thus reducing concentrationoverpotentials. Furthermore, results from the model lead to theconclusion that it is the hypochlorite ion that partakes in themajor oxygen producing side-reaction.

A real-scale cross-section of a segmented anode-cathode pairfrom a chlorate cell was designed and built in order to studythe current density distribution in industrial conditions.These experiments showed that increased flowrate brought aboutmore even current density distributions, reduced cell voltageand increased the total current density. An investigation ofthe hydrodynamic effects on the respective electrodeoverpotentials shows the anode reactions being more favoured byincreased flowrate. This leads to the conclusion that theuniform current density distribution, caused by increasedflowrate, occurs primarily through decreasing the concentrationoverpotential at the anode rather than by decreasing thebubble-induced ohmic drop at the cathode.

Finally, results from experiments investigating thebubble-induced free convection from a small electrochemicalcell are presented. These experiments show that Laser DopplerVelocimetry is the most effective instrument for investigatingthe velocity profiles in bubble-containing electrochemicalsystems. The results also show that the flow can transform fromlaminar to turbulent behaviour on both the vertical andhorizontal planes, in electrochemical systems where bubbles areevolved.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Kemiteknik , 2001. , vii, 51 p.
Trita-KET, ISSN 1104-3466 ; 139
Keyword [en]
chlorate, chlor-alkali, current density distribution, current distribution, potential distribution, hydrodynamic behaviour, electrolysis, bubble-evolution
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-3182OAI: diva2:8951
Public defence
NR 20140805Available from: 2001-06-06 Created: 2001-06-06Bibliographically approved

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