Chinese Journal of Chemical Engineering, Vol.28, No.1, 180-190, 2020
3D printed millireactors for process intensification
The scope of the present research aims at demonstrating the 3D printing use in the manufacturing of microchannels for chemical process applications. A comparison among digital model processing applications for 3D print (slicers) and a print layer thickness analysis were performed. The 3D print fidelity was verified in several devices, including the microchannels' printing with and without micromixer zones. In order to highlight the 3D print potential in Chemical Engineering, the biodiesel synthesis was also carried out in a millireactor manufactured by 3D printing. The millireactor operated under laminar flow regime with a total flow rate of 75.25 ml. min(-1) (increment of about 130 times over traditional microdevices used for biodiesel production). The printed millireactor provided a maximum yield of Ethyl Esters of 73.51% at 40 degrees C, ethanol:oil molar ratio of 7 and catalyst concentration of 125 wt% and residence time about 10 s. As a result of flow rate increment attained in the millireactor, the number of required units for scaling-up the chemical processes is reduced. Using the approach described in the present research, anyone could produce their own millireactor for chemical process in a simple way with the aid of a 3D printer. (C) 2018 The Chemical Industry and Engineering Society of China, and Chemical Industry Press Co., Ltd. All rights reserved.