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Catalyst coated 3D-printed static mixers for flow reactors.

Posted by: Simon

January 16, 2017

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.

Catalytic static mixer inserted in reactor tube.
A 3D-printed catalytic static mixer inserted into a reactor tube.

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.

Static mixer designs.
Different static mixer designs.

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.

Nickel coldspray coating.
Static mixer after nickel cold spray coating.
Copper electrodeposition.
Electrodeposition of copper onto static mixer.

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.


[1] 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.