Making higher hydrocarbons from methane is an interesting reaction. One way is to first brominate methane, and then let this react to ethane for example. The bromination of methane is the focus of this research. Right now the bromination of methane is done in batch, but the goal is to make it a flow reactor. Therefore a reactor is built, to test if bromination occurs in this type of reactor.
The reactions needs heat, light and a catalyst in the same reactor. Therefore an internally illuminated flow reactor (IIFR) is proposed. Methane gas and HBr will flow through a quartz glass pipe, with N2 as a carrier gas. The flow goes through the catalyst particle bed. Heat is applied from the outside. Light will enter through an inner tube, with mirrors to disperse the light. The ends of the reactor are sealed with stainless steel fittings, which has options for probes or tubing. Tests with this reactor will be done to characterise the reactor. The catalyst used is a glass bead coated with silver. The silver layer is the actual catalyst material. Glass is used as a support, since uncoated glass beads can be added to let the light shine through. The detection of the products will be done with a GC-FID or online mass spectrometry.
By understanding the parameters, the reactor can either be used for further study of (other) reactions, or to improve the reactor by redesigning it. The reactor has the following parameters that require understanding:
- bead size effects
- coated/uncoated bead ratio
- flow rate
- mirror angle/illumination optics
- stimulus intensity (light, temperature)
- heat distribution in the reactor