(350c) Modeling-Aided and Experimental Approaches for Design of Microreactors Using 3D Printing

Zhang, H., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Jensen, K. F., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
We present a combination of simulations and experiments approach for reactor design using 3D printing techniques: 1) design reactor structure using computer-aided design (CAD) programs and evaluate its performance by coupling and simulating the hydrodynamics, mass transfer and reactions simultaneously; 2) perform experiments using mixing sensitive chemical reactions to validate the simulation results. We take advantage of additive manufacturing techniques (3D printing) to build 3-dimentional reactors with complex geometries, which are not easy to fabricate using conventional manufacturing methods. The 3D structures inside the 3D-printed reactors function as static mixers in the traditional chemical reactors to help improve mixing performance. Effects of key geometric parameters that define the structure of reactor are explored to understand their influence on mixing by tuning the parameters in CAD programs. Based upon simulation results, we can further optimize the design of reactor structure prior to fabrication and experiments. Moreover, we can investigate the scaling-up potential of the reactor to higher flowrates and larger reactor volumes. Thus, fundamental understanding is gained using the proposed methodology and applied to an otherwise more challenging and more complicated chemistry.