Slurry reactors are designed on the basis of empirical data and model investigations. It is as yet not possible to calculate the flow behavior of such reactors. The swarm of gas bubbles and cluster formations of solid particles and their interaction in industrial reactors are not known. These effects control to a large extent the gas hold-up, the gas-liquid interface and, similarly as in bubble columns, the back-mixing of liquids and solids. These hydrodynamic problems are illustrated in slurry reactors which constructionally may be bubble columns, stirred tanks or jet loop reactors. The expected effects are predicted by means of tests with model systems modified to represent the conditions in industrial hydrogenation reactors. In his book 'Mass Transfer in Heterogeneous Catalysis' (1970) Satterfield complained of the lack of knowledge about the design of slurry reactors and hence of the impossible task of the engineer who has to design a plant according to accepted rules. There have been no fundamental changes since then. This paper presents the problems facing the engineer in designing slurry reactors, and shows new development trends.