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CFD-based optimization of a novel gas/liquid microreactor with surface-directed flow

S. Hardt
Institute of Microtechnology Mainz, DE

Keywords: Microreactors, free-surface flow, surface-directed flow, CFD

Microreactors offer unique opportunities for the control of process parameters unparalleled by macroscopic equipment. A new gas/liquid microreactor is proposed allowing for fast mass transfer and small concentration gradients as well as a very narrow residence time distribution. The reactor should be ideally suited for the screening of gas/liquid reactions and allow to measure kinetic data with a high degree of accuracy. The reaction chamber consists of an arrangement of two parallel plates with hydrophilic strips along which droplets are transported by a gas stream. Besides propelling the droplets, the gas is used as a carrier for the species to be transferred to the liquid phase. In order to simulate droplet formation and transport, a 3D FVM volume tracking technique is employed. It is shown that for comparatively small gas velocities, the droplets are driven by the flow but are not disrupted.Droplets of suitable size can be created by nozzles directing liquid flow perpendicular to the plates. Based on the design concepts supported by the CFD simulations, a prototype reactor was fabricated from glass, thus allowing to follow droplet formation and transport with a CCD camera. First experimental results obtained with a corresponding set-up are presented and compared with the simulations.

NSTI Nanotech 2003 Conference Technical Program Abstract

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