OLGA VALERICA TAGA (SAPUNARU), CLAUDIA IRINA KONCSAG, ALINA MONICA MARES, GHEORGHITA JINESCU ISOPROPYL LACTATE OBTAINING BY ESTERIFICATION IN A REACTIVE DISTILLATION SYSTEM The reactive distillation is a way for the intensification of chemical processes by thermal integration into a single process of chemical reactions with products separation. Isopropyl lactate is an important intermediate for drug synthesis what can be synthesized through reactive distillation. Based on scientific studies in literature, a preliminary study was performed in a reactive distillation laboratory system, in order to obtain isopropyl lactate by esterification of lactic acid with isopropyl alcohol. The independent variables studied are: the alcohol/lactic acid molar ratio (R), the catalyst concentration (CA) and the number of theoretical trays in the fractionation zone (NTT). The experimental matrix was established for a 23 factorial experiment, by considering two levels for each variable: R=1 and 3 mole/mole; CA= 3 %wt and 5 %wt; NTT=1.9 and 2.9. A linear mathematical model was proposed to correlate the lactic acid conversion with the molar ratio of reactants, catalyst concentration and the number of theoretical plates in the column. The model shows that R and NTT are the important variables of the process while the acid concentration is less important, in the studied range. The correlation coefficient is R2=0.9978 and the statistical analysis ANOVA of the model’s coefficients proved they are significant at a confidence level of 95%, so the model is reliable.