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Continuous stirred tank reactor (CSTR) is well known as the most basic open system reactors in
engineering. The streams surrounding this reactor does not stop, hence the name continuous,
materials freely entering and exiting as reactions simultaneously occur, good for products in high
demand. CSTR can also be fitted in series to improve productivity and accelerate reaction rates.
Due to its overall simplicity, low cost and versatility, CSTR is ranked among the most popular
reactors employed in the industry. However, there are setbacks for CSTR, particularly its low
conversion per unit volume compared to other reactors, considering that CSTR vessel is usually
large. Modifications are added to increase the CSTR effectiveness like adding a stirrer or
arranging several CSTRs as previously stated, as well as controlling other operating conditions
according to the specific process desired.

The reaction between ethyl acetate and sodium hydroxide is one of the most common base
reactions for countless experiments in the science and engineering sector. Saponification is the
hydrolysis of an ester under basic conditions to form an alcohol and the salt of a carboxylic
acid (carboxylates) and it is commonly used to refer to the reaction of a metallic alkali with a
fat or oil to form soap (Danish M.. et al, 2015),


By manipulating the conditions in which the reaction takes place, the results obtained help
researchers substantially in understanding the effects of each condition on the reaction and
produce the desired outcome. There are many factors that can influence the saponification
process such as type of reactor, flow rates, temperatures, vessel volume, presence of other
chemicals and more.

However, this experiment of the saponification reaction was conducted in a 40L continuous
stirred tank reactor (CSTR) and the operating conditions changed were mainly the reactant flow
rate and residence time. The result from which the conclusion was drawn from was the
conversion of the reaction and its conductivity. The residence time is inversely proportional to the
reactant flow rate, meaning that when the flow of reactant increase, the time the reactant spends
in the reactor will be shorter than if the flow rate was lower. Therefore, with an increase in the
feed flow rate of reactant, it will decrease conversion of the saponification reaction.

The main purpose of this experiment is to determine the effect of different residence times on the
extent of reaction conversion, as well as the reaction rate constant with the samples collected at
different flow rates. The reaction to occur in the 40L CSTR is the saponification of ethyl acetate
and sodium hydroxide.


Danish M., Al Mesfer M.K., Rashid Md. M., (2015), Effect of Operating Conditions on CSTR
performance: an Experimental Study, Int. Journal of Engineering Research and Applications.