The Continuous Stirred-Tank Reactor (CSTR)
The continuous stirred-tank reactor (CSTR), also known as vat- or backmix reactor, is a common ideal reactor type in chemical engineering. A CSTR often refers to a model used to estimate the key unit operation variables when using a continuous[†] agitated-tank reactor to reach a specified output. (SeeChemical reactors.) The mathematical model works for all fluids: liquids, gases, and slurries.The behavior of a CSTR is often approximated or modeled by that of a Continuous Ideally Stirred-Tank Reactor (CISTR). All calculations performed with CISTRs assume perfect mixing. In a perfectly mixed reactor, the output composition is identical to composition of the material inside the reactor, which is a function of residence time and rate of reaction. If the residence time is 5-10 times the mixing time, this approximation is valid for engineering purposes. The CISTR model is often used to simplify engineering calculations and can be used to describe research reactors.