3D-Printed Chemical Reactors for Continuous Chemical Synthesis
Mentor:Roger Lo, Assistant Professor and Graduate Advisor, California State University - Long Beach
Author: Elias Hiller Mentor: Roger C. Lo, Department of Chemical Engineering, California State University, Long Beach Three-dimensional (3D) printing technology has enabled the rapid fabrication of actual objects of a virtual design from modeling or computer aided design (CAD) software. It has found applications in many areas, such as fabricating medical devices and mechanical components. One area of particular interest is the use of this technology to fabricate customizable milli-/micro- reactors to carry out continuous-flow chemical synthesis. In this work, we seek to develop for flow chemistry a self-contained, automated system that consists of 3D-printed milli-/micro- reactors and integrated in-line monitoring for automated process control. We have completed the construction of our printer and began testing its tolerances. Our customized MendelMax 1.5+ printer with all of its customized upgraded can produce a layer height (Z) of ~100 to 125 microns and has a movement precision of ~6 microns for the X-Y movement. Millireactors with a circular channel of 1-mm radius has been successfully fabricated with acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and polylactic acid (PLA), respectively. We are currently developing in-house components that allow alternative materials, such as clay and metal paste, to be used for 3D-printing our reactors.