Honors Theses

Date of Award


Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Chemical Engineering

First Advisor

Adam Smith

Relational Format



The focus of this thesis is to use the equivalent annual operating costs of isothermal, adiabatic, and packed bed reactors in order to determine which reactor is most cost effective in a styrene production process. In order to understand the steps leading up to this comparison, background information is first given regarding chemical engineering design, optimization, and process simulation. This information was necessary for completing the ChE 451 design project, which was to analyze the base case styrene process before optimizing it, in fall 2018. The results of this project are briefly outlined in the second section. The third section discusses fluidized bed reactors and the process which must be taken to model it in Excel. In this project, the selected configuration is three fluidized bed reactors, each with a volume of approximately 83 cubic meters, in parallel. The last section discusses the calculation of equivalent annual operating costs for the isothermal, adiabatic, and fluidized bed reactors. Overall, fluidized bed reactors are found to be the most cost effective in the styrene process based on the equivalent annual operating costs; however, a comparison based on the net present value of the entire styrene process containing each reactor would yield a more accurate comparison.



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