Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fine chemical processes safer and more efficient with new type of reactor

Date:
April 29, 2011
Source:
Eindhoven University of Technology
Summary:
Researchers have developed a unique chemical reactor, the ‘spinning disc reactor’. This is a cylinder containing a rotor that increases the safety and efficiency of chemical production processes involving gases, liquids and solids through its very high mass transfer rate. This new reactor is particularly beneficial for the pharmaceutical and fine chemical industries.

Eindhoven University researcher Marco Meeuwse with one of his test systems for the rotor-stator spinning disc reactor.
Credit: Bart van Overbeeke

Researcher Marco Meeuwse of Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) has developed a unique chemical reactor, the 'spinning disc reactor'. This is a cylinder containing a rotor that increases the safety and efficiency of chemical production processes involving gases, liquids and solids through its very high mass transfer rate. This new reactor is particularly beneficial for the pharmaceutical and fine chemical industries.

The idea of the 'spinning disc reactor' came from Meeuwse's co-supervisor dr.ir. John van der Schaaf. Around five years ago he had seen a research project in which a liquid was sprayed onto a rotating disc and driven outwards by centrifugal force.

Assistant professor Van der Schaaf thought that combining the rotating disc with a nearby wall would create high shear stress and rapid turbulence, leading to high efficiency. He asked doctoral candidate Meeuwse to investigate whether this was true. Now, four years later, he can say without hesitation that the newly developed reactor does exactly what was expected of it. "In fact it does even more," says Meeuwse. "We were sure it would perform better than the conventional reactors, but we didn't expect it to be so much better."

Gas is fed into the reactor through the floor of the cylinder, with the rotating disc located just above it. The gas bubbles are effectively sheared off by the high-speed flow of rotating liquid through which they pass. "The higher the rotational speed, the smaller the bubbles and the larger the surface area," explains Meeuwse. "That translates into a higher rate of reaction and mass transfer. That was confirmed every time by analyses of the images of the gas-liquid flow and the mass transfer measurements."

Meeuwse was able to scale-up the principle by using a series of rotating discs. Three discs with a diameter of 13 cm were mounted on a shared spindle in a cylinder. "If each unit does the same thing, the total mass transfer of the three discs in series should also be three times as great. Our measurements clearly showed that this reasoning was true, providing the proof that we can scale the system up." An extra benefit of the reactor is that it is safer, because it is much smaller than conventional reactors. This is a big advantage in processes using hazardous substances.

Further development of the reactor is currently in full swing, and a number of related PhD projects are in progress at TU/e. A major equipment manufacturer has become involved, and several chemical and pharmaceutical companies have also shown interest, Meeuwse explains. "We know that this reactor is better than the conventional types. We have measured improvements by factors ranging from two to ten, but we haven't yet been able to identify the full potential of the new concept."

Is there a big market for this new type of reactor? "It is definitely usable for processes in which conversion and selectivity are important factors, such as in the pharmaceutical industry," says Meeuwse. "The raw materials for medicines are very costly, so the less you need to purify the products afterwards, and the less waste you throw away, the more rewarding it will be to use our reactor. In terms of volume it may not be a big market, but on the other hand the processes concerned have a high added value."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Eindhoven University of Technology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Eindhoven University of Technology. "Fine chemical processes safer and more efficient with new type of reactor." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110428092504.htm>.
Eindhoven University of Technology. (2011, April 29). Fine chemical processes safer and more efficient with new type of reactor. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110428092504.htm
Eindhoven University of Technology. "Fine chemical processes safer and more efficient with new type of reactor." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110428092504.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Thanks, Marty McFly! Hoverboards Could Be Coming In 2015

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) If you've ever watched "Back to the Future Part II" and wanted to get your hands on a hoverboard, well, you might soon be in luck. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Robots to Fly Planes Where Humans Can't

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Researchers in South Korea are developing a robotic pilot that could potentially replace humans in the cockpit. Unlike drones and autopilot programs which are configured for specific aircraft, the robots' humanoid design will allow it to fly any type of plane with no additional sensors. Ben Gruber reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Graphene Paint Offers Rust-Free Future

Graphene Paint Offers Rust-Free Future

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) British scientists have developed a prototype graphene paint that can make coatings which are resistant to liquids, gases, and chemicals. The team says the paint could have a variety of uses, from stopping ships rusting to keeping food fresher for longer. Jim Drury reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins