August 20, 2018

Tailoring Support Media to Optimize Reactor Reliability and Performance

A variety of factors influence the selection of catalyst support media in fixed bed reactor applications in the petrochemical, gas processing, refining and chemical industries. In order to optimize reactor and catalyst performance, it is imperative that the support media utilized not only addresses the requirements of its intended application, but that it also resists erosion, attrition, splitting and spalling. Proper support media selection keeps pressure drop low, prevents fouling or plugging of the catalyst bed and enables the catalyst to achieve optimal performance.

Saint-Gobain NorPro’s Denstone® brand of support media has become synonymous with consistency, reliability and structural integrity. With heightened emphasis on raw material selection, formulation design and process controls, they deliver a product to exact specifications. The same ideals used to develop the Denstone® brand have been distilled into all of their operations. They provide the same reliability from all of their regional manufacturing facilities in the United States, Germany and China, delivering a superior product worldwide.

Saint-Gobain manufactures a diverse portfolio of Denstone® support media designed to provide the right fit for a broad scope of fixed bed reactor applications. They provide high purity alumina support balls for ammonia and reactive petrochemical applications, two families of ceramic support balls — including one designed for survival under rapid depressurization — and a shaped ceramic media that increases the available volume for catalyst or adsorbent in fixed bed reactors./news/tailoring-support-media-optimize-reactor-reliability-and-performance

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Support Media Layering Configuration

Key factors to ensuring optimal reactor and catalyst performance are proper size gradation and layering configuration. It is recommended that each layer of support media has a minimal depth of 100 mm (4 in) and, for support balls, that the ball diameter is no more than twice the diameter in adjacent layers. Saint-Gobain NorPro has created an online Denstone® Size Selection Guide that can help you determine the best layering for your specific reactor.

The size uniformity of Denstone® support media ensures size gradation that is kept within close tolerances. This prevents channeling and migration of catalyst or adsorbent through the support media, screens and bottom distributor or collector. The seamless, monolithic balls also resist erosion and attrition, further extending catalyst life, reducing downtime and optimizing reactor performance.

Product Portfolio

Saint-Gobain NorPro’s extensive range of Denstone® support media was developed to address industry needs. Selection of the right support media and proper layering configuration are crucial to optimizing catalyst and reactor performance.

Denstone® deltaP®

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Denstone® deltaP® is a revolutionary, shaped ceramic support media that defies traditional size gradation logic. Size P1 Denstone deltaP support media is designed for the top layer of support media to directly support the catalyst. It has a typical diameter of 11.5 mm, which effectively retains a bed of 1.6 mm catalyst without any migration into the support layer. Only one additional layer of Denstone deltaP media is required, reducing the volume of support media needed and increasing the potential catalyst or adsorbent capacity of the fixed bed reactor.

  • Increases available catalyst or adsorbent capacity
  • Reduces unit pressure drop
  • Simplifies layering configurations
  • Three sizes are available: P1, P1.4 and P2


Denstone® 2000

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Denstone® 2000 bed support was developed to address needs in severe hydroprocessing applications. The engineered micro-structure provides a defined porosity that allows the balls to withstand thermal cycling and rapid depressurization. Its silica-alumina body remains intact while enduring high pressure shock tests.

  • Unmatched survival in rapid depressurization
  • Superior impact resistance and compressive strength
  • High thermal shock resistance


Denstone® 57

denstone 57 round

Denstone® 57 is Saint-Gobain NorPro’s original support media and the cornerstone of the Denstone brand that has remained an industry standard for over 70 years. The seamless, monolithic balls provide consistent and unparalleled reliability.

  • Provides high thermal shock resistance
  • Prevents poisoning of the catalyst
  • Prevents catalyst contamination
  • Prevents fouling and plugging of the catalyst bed


Denstone® 99

desntone 99 round

Denstone® 99 is a high-purity alpha-alumina support ball. The low silica content, high-purity alpha-alumina body provides high thermal shock resistance and superior chemical resistance at operating temperatures up to 1,650° C. This product is preferred in reactive olefin services and ammonia processing applications.

  • Chemically inert
  • Excellent thermal properties
  • No silica leaching


Saint-Gobain NorPro’s broad portfolio of Denstone® catalyst support media provides solutions tailored to optimize reactor and catalyst performance. Their extensive knowledge and expertise in ceramic manufacturing are combined with tightly controlled manufacturing processes and rigorous in-house testing to deliver a highly reliable support media with unparalleled consistency in product quality and performance.


 Contact Us to for more information on Denstone® support media.