Polyester process using a pipe reactor

  • US 6,906,164 B2
  • Filed: 06/06/2003
  • Issued: 06/14/2005
  • Est. Priority Date: 12/07/2000
  • Status: Active Grant
First Claim
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1. A process for making a polyester polymer from a plurality of reactants, comprising:

  • (a) providing an esterification pipe reactor having an inlet, an outlet, and an interior surface, the esterification pipe reactor comprising a substantially empty pipe;

    wherein the esterification pipe reactor is operated in at least one flow regime selected from the group consisting of bubble flow, plug flow, stratified flow, wavy flow, slug flow, dispersed flow and froth flow;

    (b) adding at least one reactant into the pipe reactor proximal the inlet so that the reactants flow through the pipe reactor and react with each other to form a polyester monomer within the pipe reactor and the polyester monomer exits from the outlet thereof, wherein the reactants and the polyester monomer flowing through the esterification pipe reactor are each an esterification fluid;

    (c) providing a polycondensation pipe reactor formed separately of the esterification pipe reactor, the polycondensation pipe reactor in fluid communication with the esterification pipe reactor, the polycondensation pipe reactor having a first end, a second end, and an inside surface, the polycondensation pipe reactor comprising a substantially empty pipe; and

    (d) directing the fluid polyester monomer into the first end of the polycondensation pipe reactor so that the monomer flows through the polycondition reactor, the monomer reacting to form an oligomer and then the oligomer reacting to form the polymer within the polycondensation pipe reactor, and the polymer exits from the second end of the reactor, wherein the monomer, the oligomer, and the polymer flowing through the polycondensation pipe reactor are each a polycondensation fluid.

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