CSIRO scientists working at FloWorks have developed catalyst coated, metal 3D-printed static mixers for use in continuous flow reactors. Static mixers cause additional churn and mixing in a flow reactor, improving the efficiency of a continuous flow manufacturing process.
The work, published recently in Reaction Chemistry & Engineering1 (free access until end of 2017), brought together a multi-disciplinary team to design (CFD), 3D-print in metal, and coat in catalysts static mixers for insertion into stainless steel tubing used in standard flow reactors.
The base substrate can be printed in Ti-alloy, CoCr-alloy, Al-alloy, 316 SS, and other materials, using our metal 3D-printers.
The catalysts were then applied using either electrodeposition or metal cold-spray techniques, and evaluated in continuous flow hydrogenations. This initial work successfully coated Ni, Pt, Pd, Cu, and Au onto the bare base substrate.
This approach allows FloWorks to custom design a mixer specifically for an end-user’s manufacturing needs, and scale-up and automate the production of the static mixers.
 Continuous flow hydrogenations using novel catalytic static mixers inside a tubular reactor, A. Avril, C. Hornung, A. J. Urban, D. Fraser, M. Horne, J.-P. Veder, J. Tsanaktsidis, T. Rodopoulos, C. Henry, and D. Gunasegaram, React. Chem. Eng., 2016, doi:10.1039/C6RE00188B.