Enhanced Design for Structured Catalytists: 3D Printed Microreactors

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    AIChE Member Credits 0.5
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    Non-Members $29.00
  • Type:
    Conference Presentation
  • Conference Type:
    AIChE Annual Meeting
  • Presentation Date:
    November 9, 2021
  • Duration:
    21 minutes
  • Skill Level:
    Intermediate
  • PDHs:
    0.50

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The design of novel microreactors can play a crucial role in enhancing their performance in real operating conditions. One of their most attractive advantages is that allow the process intensification that seeks not only to improve the performance of a process, but also to miniaturize it as much as possible to make it more efficient. Therefore, microreactors have emerged, with a series of advantages widely discussed and proven in literature. However, the room for improvement in this type of devices remains great, especially in terms of design and shape that can be manufactured. In fact, it could be said that the future of microreactors is to find devices with more complex designs that are at the same time easier to produce. Taking this into account, additive manufacturing could be the tool that allows to make the leap towards new microreactors due to the possibility of applying CAD tools and because it can become a fast and cheap manufacturing method.

One of the challenges that could be overcome with more advanced microstructured designs is the lack of contact between the reactants and the catalytic phase, using geometries that increase the tortuosity of the reagent flow. In addition, the dimensions of the devices and their densities of void fraction and occupied fraction can be controlled, to also manage heat transfer during the catalytic reactions.

In this sense, the present work shows different examples of ceramic and polymeric microreactors (Figure 1) printed by means of stereolithography (SLA), and designed from periodic open cell structures (POCS). These devices have been used as catalytic supports in reactions such as CO oxidation, CO2 methanation and methanol carbonylation. These examples show the advantages of this type of device compared the powder catalysts and point out the strong influence of the microreactor design over the performance.

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