Steady-state and dynamic modeling of commercial slurry high-density polyethylene (HDPE) processes

Neeraj P. Khare, Kevin C. Seavey, Y. A. Liu, Sundaram Ramanathan, Simon Lingard, Chau Chyun Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


We present the development of both steady-state and dynamic models for a slurry HDPE process using fundamental chemical engineering principles and advanced software tools, Polymers Plus and Aspen Dynamics. The discussion includes thermodynamic properties, phase equilibrium, reaction kinetics, polymer properties, and other modeling issues. We characterize a Ziegler-Natta catalyst by assuming the existence of multiple catalyst site types and deconvoluting data from gel permeation chromatography to determine the most probable chain-length distributions and relative amounts of polymer produced at each site type. We validate the model using plant data from two large-scale commercial slurry HDPE processes. Significantly, the model contains a single set of kinetic and thermodynamic parameters that accurately predicts the polymer production rate, molecular weight, polydispersity index, and composition for several product grades. We illustrate the utility of the dynamic model by simulating a grade change. Finally, we propose a process retrofit that permits an increase in the HDPE production rate of up to 20% while maintaining the product quality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5601-5618
Number of pages18
JournalIndustrial and Engineering Chemistry Research
Issue number23
StatePublished - Nov 13 2002


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