Designing a Glass-Lined Vessel: How to Specify a Reactor [Part 1]

GL-1500_OptiMix_ReactorA factor like price that is often the key driver in purchasing a product can sometimes play second fiddle to other buying criteria including quality, delivery time, available options, and aftermarket services.  This is especially true in the case of glass-lined vessels, which are a major component of many reaction processes and require a great deal of precision and engineering.  These days, process engineers and project managers frequently start their research online.  The Internet is a wonderful network in that it allows a person to perform research on a product of interest from virtually anywhere, at any time, and find out a pretty good amount of information without having to deal with any annoying or unwanted human contact.  But there comes a point, especially with a product of significant investment that requires a high level of specification and possibly customization, where you have to break the barrier and reach out to a living being.  Whether it is via email or phone, some type of personal contact must be made if you want to receive an accurate budget price for the product of interest. 

DDPS has tried via our website to make this process as hassle-free for you as possible.  Still, it’s important that you provide as much information as possible in any request for a quote in order to receive the most accurate budget price.  There are so many different options for glass-lined reactors that without knowing the specifics of your project (as it pertains to the operating requirements of the vessel), we are unable to provide a precise estimate.  This post outlines the data requested in our “Glass-Lined Reactor Specification Form”.  Whether you are looking for a De Dietrich glass-lined reactor or not, this information will help you to establish the specifications that need to be defined in order to obtain a representative price. (Please note that it’s okay to not be sure about something and select “don’t know” or leave some fields blank.  That’s where those humans can come into play and help out!)


Reactor Type and Size

There are a variety of different reactor types, each with their own set of unique features that make them advantageous for different utilization.  Size is also an important factor.  When you are determining what size reactor you need you’ll want to consider the minimum and maximum batch volume to help determine what size reactor will provide the best environment to optimize process performance.  There is no “rule of thumb” that is applied to deciding the optimal batch volume, but generally customers use 70-80% of full capacity.     

Here is a quick breakdown of glass-lined reactor models available from DDPS (other manufacturers may have similar models though they refer to them with other names):

  •  Laboratory Reactors – Available in 6.3 or 25 L sizes, these are designed for lab use including research and development. 
  • CTJ Reactors – Available in 5 to 2,000 gallon sizes, clamped-top reactors are designed with a removable top head.
  • GL Reactors – Available in 300 to over 10,000 gallon sizes, closed-welded reactors without a large main opening maximize top head strength and allow for higher pressure ratings.
  • SA Reactors – Available in 300 to 10,000 gallon sizes, these rugged, heavyweight reactors feature a large top head main cover that allows for installation and removal of one-piece agitators.
  • Agitated Tanks – 300 to 16,000 gallon or greater, these tanks are built to handle anti-corrosive storage requirements.   

Selecting “Include OptiMix” will add OptiMix baffles to any of these reactor models.  OptiMix is a patented reactor design that optimizes the mixing performance of glass-lined reactors by integrating three baffles on the vessel wall.


Vessel Lining

There are three options available for glass grade: 3009 blue, 3009 U white, and ConductiGlass.  The first two options are simply what color glass is preferred based on the color of your product.  Some companies opt for a dark glass while others find they get better visibility with white.  ConductiGlass is a product that formulates the glass lining with platinum fibers to eliminate electrostatic charges that could potentially cause damage to the glass lining.  As an alternative to glass, alloy and stainless steel are also available.  It’s important to make sure that these metals can withstand the properties of the chemicals and reactions taking place in them.


Design Code

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) provides a standard boiler and pressure vessel code (BPVC) to ensure vessels are built in accordance with the rules they’ve established for safety and service life.  The standard design code for glass-lined vessels is ASME Section VIII.



Most manufacturers perform a standard inspection on all equipment.  In some cases, such as the pharmaceutical applications, additional GMP compliance can be conducted.



An x-ray inspection machine is used to analyze the condition of the welding in the vessel and detect any foreign particles in a non-destructive manner, as it can spot issues that can’t be detected with a visual inspection.


Design Conditions

All De Dietrich reactors are manufactured with a standard pressure and temperature range that applies to the inner vessel, jacket, and half coil pipes in the case of HemiCoil jacketed reactors.  The normal pressure and temperature ranges are -1/+6 bar and -25/+200°C respectively.  Designs are available that exceed these typical design conditions, so if you require greater allowances it should be made clear in this section. 


Stay tuned for next week’s blog post where we’ll continue our discussion with identifying vessel working conditions and talk more about other components that need to be recognized when specifying a reactor design to obtain a quote.  Or click on the link below to review our form and get yourself one step closer to receiving a hassle-free quote to meet your new equipment needs.


Glass-Lined Reactor Spec Form CTA