The 3D-Printing Fabrication of Multichannel Silicone Microreactors for Catalytic Applications
IBÁNEZ DE GARAYO, A;IMIZCOZ, M; MAISTERRA, M; ALMAZÁN, F; SANZ, D; BIMBELA, F; CORNEJO, A; PELLEJERO, I; GANDÍA, L.
Microstructured reactors (MSRs) are especially indicated for highly demanding heterogeneous catalysis due to the small channel dimensions that minimize diffusional limitations and
enhance mass and heat transport between the fluid and the catalyst. Herein, we present the fabrication protocol of the fused filament 3D printing of silicone monolithic microreactors based on a multichannel design. Microchannels of 200 to 800 µm in width and up to 20 mm in length were developed following the scaffold-removal procedure using acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) as the material for the 3D-printed scaffold fabrication, polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) as the building material, and acetone as the ABS removing agent. The main printing parameters such as temperature and printing velocity were optimized in order to minimize the bridging effect and filament collapsing and intercrossing. Heterogeneous catalysts were incorporated into the microchannel walls during fabrication, thus avoiding further post-processing steps. The nanoparticulated catalyst was deposited on ABS scaffolds through dip coating and transferred to the microchannel walls during the PDMS pouring step and subsequent scaffold removal. Two different designs of the silicone monolithic microreactors were tested for four catalytic applications, namely liquid-phase 2-nitrophenol photohydrogenation and methylene blue photodegradation in aqueous media, lignin depolymerization in ethanol, and gas-phase CO2 hydrogenation, in order to investigate the microreactor performance under different reaction conditions (temperature and solvent) and establish the possible range of applications.
3. Materials and Methods
3.1. Microreactor Fabrication Protocol
The deposition of the nanoparticulated catalysts over the surface of the ABS molds was carried out through dip coating (ND-DC dip coater—Nadetech Innovations).
Keywords: Microreactors; 3D printing; PDMS; Heterogeneous catalysts; Photocatalyst.
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