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Mathematical modeling of glycerol acetalization catalyzed by sulfonated resins

Grant number: 18/21642-4
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): March 01, 2019
Effective date (End): February 29, 2020
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Chemical Engineering - Chemical Process Industries
Principal Investigator:Leandro Gonçalves de Aguiar
Grantee:Thais Ferraz Varela
Host Institution: Escola de Engenharia de Lorena (EEL). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Lorena , SP, Brazil


The present scientific initiation project has the purpose of studying, at a phenomenological level, the process of acetalization of glycerol in the presence of catalysts supported by polymer resins. The gradual increase in biodiesel production in recent years has also increased the supply of its by-product, glycerol. Hence, alternative routes for converting this compound into products of commercial interest become interesting from scientific and industrial point of view. Glycerol acetalization reactions generate cyclic compounds, which are considered novel chemical intermediates. However, in a heterogeneous catalysis process involving glycerol, the viscosity of the medium can cause considerable effects mainly with respect to internal diffusion to the catalyst. The mathematical modeling of this process presents a certain complexity because it involves more than a chemical reaction; several products; parameters related to these products as diffusion, mass transfer and partition coefficients, kinetic constants, among others. Thus, the present proposal can be framed as a scientific initiation project to be developed in a period of year. It is intended to build a mathematical model that takes into account the global conversion of the process, as well as the concentration profiles of the species throughout the reaction. The model will be validated with experimental data available in the literature.

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