Document Type


Date of Award

Spring 6-30-1966

Degree Name

Doctor of Engineering Science in Chemical Engineering


Chemical Engineering

First Advisor

Saul I. Kreps

Second Advisor

Joseph Joffe

Third Advisor

Carl W. Carlson

Fourth Advisor

William H. Snyder

Fifth Advisor

Gerson L. Ram


Kinetic and equilibrium data for the esterification reaction of monomeric lactic acid with normal butanol were determined in a series of experiments utilizing a batch stirred tank reactor. The variables studied were temperature and catalyst concentration. The kinetic data were successfully represented by the integrated equation for a second order reversible reaction.

Rate constants were obtained at three temperature levels and four catalyst levels. The observed rate constants in the catalytic reaction were linearly correlated with catalyst concentration and also satisfied the Arrhenius criterion. The activation energy and frequency factor for the uncatalyzed reaction were determined to be 13,190 calories and 673 liter/mole second respectively. The activation energy and frequency factor for the catalyzed reaction were 13,580 calories and 547 liters2/mole-second-mmole catalyst respectively.

The equilibrium value for the esterification reaction was determined to be 3.02 ± .13 and was found to be independent of catalyst concentration and mole ratio of the reactants.

The conversion time-data was determined by titrametric and chromatographic methods.

Kinetic and equilibrium data were also obtained for the dimerization reaction of lactic acid to lactyllactate. It was established that the dimerization reaction had virtually no effect upon rate of the lactic acid-butanol reaction.

A 2 1/2 order reversible reaction equation was derived as a model for the kinetics of an uncatalyzed esterification reaction, but it did not apply to the esterification reaction studied.



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