(8b) Additive Manufacturing of Catalyst Support Structures with in Operando Adjustable Mass Transport and Flow Characteristics | AIChE

(8b) Additive Manufacturing of Catalyst Support Structures with in Operando Adjustable Mass Transport and Flow Characteristics


Freund, H. - Presenter, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Schwieger, W., Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
Trunk, S., Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuernberg
Do, G., Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg
In conventional randomly packed bed reactors, the flow and mass transport characteristics are predefined by the particle diameter and the tube diameter. Structured reactors offer the opportunity to tailor mass transport and flow field according to the needs of the reaction system. In this regard, additively manufactured so-called Periodic Open Cellular Structures (POCS) as catalyst supports have shown their advantages over conventional randomly packed bed reactors in terms of heat management and pressure drop [1, 2]. However, since the internal flow field, pressure drop and therefore the resulting mass transport characteristics are mainly influenced by the geometrical properties of the unit cell, for POCS the resulting transport characteristics of the structure is already determined and fixed by the choice and design of the unit cell. To achieve more flexibility, we have recently proposed a new type of so-called interpenetrating POCS (interPOCS) which are formed by inserting a diamond unit cell based structure in the cavities of a second diamond cell structure. These interPOCS allow for in operando flow field and mass transport adjustments by shifting the (relative) position of the loose structure [3].

With detailed computational fluid dynamics (CFD) based simulations with an additional in-house particle-tracking algorithm implementation we systematically investigated the flow field and mass transport characteristics within the interPOCS in dependency of the relative positioning of the loose structure. The highly adjustable structure allows for a broad variation of mass transport characteristics in a catalytic reactor without changing the system’s periphery. This functionality enables mass transport optimization for a given system and represents a completely new application of additively manufactured catalyst support structures for highly flexible in operando tuning of flow field and mass transport characteristics.


[1] C. Busse, H. Freund, and W. Schwieger (2018). Chem. Eng. Process. 124, 199-214.

[2] A. Inayat, M. Klumpp, M. Lämmermann, H. Freund and W. Schwieger (2016). Chem. Eng. J. 287, 704-719.

[3] G. Do, T. Stiegler, M. Fiegl, L. Adler, C. Körner, A. Bösmann, H. Freund, W. Schwieger and P. Wasserscheid (2017). Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 45, 13402-13410.