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Christo Boyanov Boyadjiev

Speaker for chemical engineering conference - Christo Boyanov Boyadjiev

Title: A new Approach to Modeling the Catalytic Processes in Industrial Column Apparatuses

Christo Boyanov Boyadjiev

Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Bulgaria


  • Education (1954 – 1960) - Higher Institute of Chemical Technology (Sofia, Bulgaria).
  • PhD (1968) – USSR, Moscow Institute of Chemical Mechanical Engineering, PhD Thesis: "Influence of Surface Active Agents on Hydrodynamics and Mass Transfer in Laminar Film Flow".
  • Doctor of Technical Sciences (1978), Higher Institute of Chemical Technology (Sofia, Bulgaria), D. Sc. Thesis: "Hydrodynamics and Mass Transfer in Falling Liquid Films".


The modeling and simulation are the main approach for the quantitative description of the catalytic processes in the chemical industry. The models of the catalytic processes are possible to be created on the basis of the physical approximations of the mechanics of continua, where the mathematical point is equivalent to an elementary physical volume, which is sufficiently small with respect to the apparatus volume, but at the same time sufficiently large with respect to the intermolecular volumes in the medium.
The big part of the industrial catalytic processes are realized in one or two phase systems as a result of volume (homogeneous) or surface (heterogeneous) reactions, i.e. mass appearance (disappearance) of the reagents (phase components) in the elementary volumes in the phase or on the its interphase surface. As a result, the reactions are mass sources (sinks) in the volume (homogeneous catalytic reactions) or on the surface (heterogeneous catalytic reactions) of the elementary phase volumes.
The volume catalytic reactions lead to different concentrations of the reagents in the phase volume and as a result two mass transfer processes are realized – convective transfer (caused by the movement of the phases) and diffusion transfer (caused by the concentration gradients in the phases). The mass transfer models are a mass balance in the phase elementary volumes, where components are convective transfer, diffusion transfer and volume catalytic reaction (volume mass source or sing). The surface catalytic reaction participates as mass source (sing) in the boundary conditions of the model equations (according the clasic mass transfer theory).
A fundamental prerequisite for the use of the clasic mass transfer theory is the existence of a theoretical possibility to determine the velocity distribution in the phase and the interphase boundary (surface). In the cases of modeling of the catalytic reactions in column apparatuses, the velocity and the interphase boundaries are unknown and as a result this theory is useful.
The use of the physical approximations of the mechanics of continua for the interphase mass transfer process modeling in the industrial column catalytic reactors is possible if the mass appearance (disappearance) of the reagents on the interphase surfaces of the elementary phase volumes (as a result of the heterogeneous reactions) are replaced by the mass appearance (disappearance) of the reagents in the same elementary phase volumes (as a result of the equivalent homogenous reactions), i.e. the surface mass sources (sinks), caused by the heterogeneous reactions must be replaced with equivalent volume mass sources (sinks).
The new approach to modeling the mass transfer processes in the industrial column catalytic reactors is the creation of the convection-diffusion models, where the heterogeneous reactions are replaced by equivalent homogenous reactions, and the average-concentration models, where the unknown velocity distribution are replaced by the average velocies'
The convection-diffusion models permit the qualitative analysis of the processes only, because the velocity distribution in the column is unknown. On this base is possible to be obtained the role of the different physical effect in the process and to reject those processes, whose relative influence is less than 1%, i.e. to be made process mechanism identification.
The average-concentration models are obtained from the convection-diffusion models, where average velocities and concentrations are introduced. The velocity and concentration
radial non-uniformities are introduced by two parameters in the model, which must be determined experimentally.