Within the framework of the Intense4Chem projects portfolio funded by the European Regional Development fund (ERDF), Certech is developing continuous flow reactors to achieve the hydrothermal synthesis or treatment of inorganic particles. Using continuous reactors allows reducing the size of the installations, intensifying the heat and mass transfer and eliminating the “dead times” related to the feeding, heating, cooling and discharging cycles inherent to a batch process. The safety, the overall efficiency of the process and the product characteristics are as such significantly improved.
In this context, 3D printing is a promising method to build up compact continuous reactors designed to promote intense mixing and high heat transfer rates. Certech was at Eurofinish 2017 to present a small 3D-printed continuous reactor consisting of a plate heat exchanger with internal channels. This cold flow reactor printed in poly-acrylate (Figure 1a) is translucent and allows studying the hydrodynamic behavior of the liquid / slurry to be treated. A metal-printed (316 stainless steel) 250 mL version of the reactor (Figure 1b) is also available at Certech for operation under pressure and temperature. These 3D-printed reactors offer new perspectives to develop innovative and cost efficient continuous processes in the field of inorganic particles synthesis or treatment.