Design of a Novel Process for Continuous Lactide Synthesis from Lactic Acid

Jinwoo Park, Hyungtae Cho, Dongwon Hwang, Seungnam Kim, Il Moon, Myungjun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Lactide synthesis is an energy-intensive process used to produce polylactic acid (PLA). In this study, we propose a continuous lactide synthesis process developed on the basis of a recently developed one-step reaction using a SnO2-SiO2 nanocomposite catalyst. This process enables a rapid reaction time of 40 ms for the catalyst, which achieves 94% lactide yield. To design an efficient chemical process, reaction kinetics were developed and a heterogeneous reactor model was applied to the reactor. The proposed process has advantages over commercial processes, having both a rapid reaction rate and high yield. Moreover, its rapid reaction rate significantly increases the productivity. In addition, this process operates under atmospheric pressure, which makes it more energy efficient than commercial processes that operate under a high vacuum pressure of 20 mmHg. Therefore, the overall process is an effective alternative for lactide production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11955-11962
Number of pages8
JournalIndustrial and Engineering Chemistry Research
Issue number35
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Sept 5

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2018 American Chemical Society.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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