“In recent years chemical kinetics has assumed a prominent role in Chemical Engineering studies. While a considerable amount of data is available in the general field, very little is available for rapid gas phase reactions, i. e., reactions that are completed in from a few milliseconds up to a few seconds. Recently techniques have been developed for the measurement of the rate of such reactions.
With the advent of jet aircraft, the study of very rapid oxidation reactions becomes imperative. One such reaction that presents itself in this category is the oxidation of anhydrous ammonia in the vapor state by means of gaseous nitrogen tetroxide (or NO2 as the mixture of the tetroxide and dioxide is commonly called). The reaction has been known to proceed very rapidly, but little is known of its nature, both from the standpoint of the products formed and of the kinetics of the reaction. Crocker designed and built an apparatus for the study of this reaction by a pressure technique, and this research concerned itself with further developing and using this apparatus for study of the reaction.
When it became apparent that only a limited knowledge of the reaction could be acquired using Crocker's apparatus, other means were sought to investigate the reaction. One solution appeared to be an optical method, since nitrogen tetroxide is a colored gas and its disappearance could be measured in this manner. Accordingly, an optical apparatus was designed and built. In the reaction between NH3 and NO2 a solid product is formed. In designing the optical apparatus, it was thought that by using very dilute quantities of reactants, the solids formed would be negligible and not interfere with the light beam to a great extent. This, however, proved untrue, and the apparatus could not be used for study of this particular reaction.
Both the pressure method and the optical system are well suited to study of other gas reactions, and because of unusual interest in the latter, emphasis was then placed on adapting this apparatus to other rapid reactions. One such reaction that proceeds at a very convenient rate for kinetic study is the oxidation of nitric oxide by oxygen to nitrogen dioxide. While it is not extremely rapid, it is an ideal reaction for testing the apparatus. The remainder of the research activity was spent adapting the optical apparatus to the investigation of this reaction "—Introduction, pages 1-2.
Chemical and Biochemical Engineering
M.S. in Chemical Engineering
U. S. Atomic Energy Commission
Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy
vii, 100 pages
© 1952 William Dean Burch, All rights reserved.
Thesis - Open Access
Scientific apparatus and instruments -- Design and Construction
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Burch, William Dean, "Experimental techniques in the kinetic study of rapid gas phase reactions" (1952). Masters Theses. 2046.