Title page for ETD etd-04172003-134414

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Seavey, Kevin Christopher
Author's Email Address kseavey@vt.edu
URN etd-04172003-134414
Title Research and Development of Simulation and Optimization Technology for Commercial Nylon-6 Manufacturing Processes
Degree PhD
Department Chemical Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Liu, Y. A. Committee Chair
Adjerid, Slimane Committee Member
Baird, Donald G. Committee Member
Bremner, Tim Committee Member
Chen, Chau-Chyun Committee Member
Davis, Richey M. Committee Member
  • vacuum devolatization
  • nylon-6
  • modeling
  • finishing reactor
  • polycondensation
Date of Defense 2003-04-14
Availability unrestricted
This dissertation concerns the development of simulation and optimization technology for

industrial, hydrolytic nylon-6 polymerizations. The significance of this work is that it is a

comprehensive and fundamental analysis of nearly all of the pertinent aspects of

simulation. It steps through all of the major steps for developing process models,

including simulation of the reaction kinetics, phase equilibrium, physical properties, and

mass-transfer- limited devolatization. Using this work, we can build accurate models for

all major processing equipment involved in nylon-6 production.

Contributions in this dissertation are of two types. Type one concerns the formalization

of existing knowledge of nylon-6 polymerization mixtures, mainly for documentation and

teaching purposes. Type two, on the other hand, concerns original research contributions.

Formalizations of existing knowledge include reaction kinetics and physical properties.

Original research contributions include models for phase equilibrium, diffusivities of

water and caprolactam, and devolatization in vacuum- finishing reactors.

We have designed all of the models herein to be fundamental, yet accessible to the

practicing engineer. All of the analysis was done using commercial software packages

offered by Aspen Technology, Cambridge, MA. We chose these packages for two

reasons: (1) These packages enable one to quickly build fundamental steady-state and

dynamic models of polymer trains; and (2) These packages are the only ones

commercially available for simulating polymer trains.

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