Riki Kobayashi
Professor Emeritus in Chemical Engineering


Research Interests:
Transport Properties

B.S. (1944) Rice University
M.S. (1946) University of Michigan
Ph.D. (1951) University of Michigan

A "Differential Kinetics" apparatus has been conceptualized and constructed to study the enhancement of gas-liquid chemical reactions with aqueous alkanol amine solutions. One of the objectives of the apparatus was to separate the mass transfer from the kinetic phase of the reaction by using an analogous nonreacting gas in one of the reactors. The full reaction takes place in the second reactor. The difference between the two directly and accurately gives the "enhancement factor" or the extent to which the chemical reaction accelerates the overall reaction rate. Many other applications of the "differential kinetics" apparatus have been formulated and are destined for study, e.g., steric hindrance, tautomerism.

Over the years, a large number of exquisite thermodynamic and transport property experiments have been developed and applied over wide ranges of pressure, temperature, and compositions. Many of these experiments have been integrated with spectroscopic techniques.

The first of these experiments involved the integration of a fully automated pulsed NMR apparatus with a PVT-VLE (phase and volumetric) "thermodynamic" apparatus. Its initial application has been the measurement of thermodynamic and transport properties of the CO2-n-hexadecane system at supercritical (with respect to CO2) conditions. It has been demonstrated by comparison with literature data that highly quantitative data like phase densities, phase concentrations, diffusion, and quantities proportional to the fluid viscosity (spin lattice relaxation times) can be obtained in situ, i.e., without sampling or analysis.

Improved correlations of transport properties and mass transfer coefficients and rate constants are likely to emerge from such studies. Automated apparati, signal averaging techniques, and datalogging procedures have been used throughout Prof. Kobayashi's lab.

Hydrate formation/decomposition studies by NMR and Raman Spectroscopy were combined with macroscopic ramping experiments. Particular emphasis was placed on the metastabilities and mechanisms associated with the hydrate formation-decomposition processes as exhibited by macroscopic ramping experiments. The influence of inhibitors and turbulence on hydrate formation and metastabilities was also investigated.

Professor Kobayashi was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.


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