What is a Micro Channel Reactor & Details
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- What is a Micro Channel Reactor & Details
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What is a Micro Channel Reactor?
A micro channel reactor is a reactor that consists of numerous channels with small diameters of less than a few millimeters.
The micro channel structure provides the following benefits.
Benefits of a Micro Channel Reactor
- Higher chemical operation efficiency
- Homogeneous mixing
- Precise temperature control
- Continuous operation
- Quick phase separation
Micro channel reactors have been attracting attention due to their excellent thermal and mass transfer performance.
However, micro channel reactors have been applicable only for limited uses, such as the small production of pharmaceuticals and other high value-added goods. One of the issues limiting use is the very limited capacity of micro channel reactors.
Although increasing the number of channels (numbering-up) can be a solution for increasing the capacity, it is difficult to lay out numerous channels (1,000 to 10,000 or more) efficiently in the equipment and distribute fluids to the channels uniformly.
While plate-type micro reactors have been proposed previously, there have been no reactors able to achieve the large capacity applicable for mass production. Kobe Steel applied its manufacturing technology for brazed aluminum heat exchangers (ALEX) to develop stacked multichannel reactors, SMCR®, as a large-capacity micro channel reactor.
- SMCR® Structure (01:50)
The Issues of Micro Reactors and The Solution
SMCR® consists of plates that have parallel multi-channels on both sides and a through-hole connecting the channels on both sides of the plate. This structure enables the efficient arrangement of numerous channels and allows uniform fluid distribution and mixing in each of channels. As SMCR® features excellent heat-transfer performance and due to its structure, it is able to stack heat transfer layers with reaction layers, As a result, precise temperature control of the reaction layer is possible.
Example of Shift from Two-dimensional to Three-dimensional Structure
In addition, depending on the combination of channel configurations of the mixing part, T-shaped mixing or Y-shaped mixing can be employed.
Example of Shift from Two-dimensional to Three-dimensional Structure (conceptual image of channel layout)
Basic Channel Shapes
Using this structure, stable slug flows* can be formed.
* Slug flow is a flow pattern where immiscible fluids are alternatly arranged in channels. This is a characteristic flow pattern of a micro channel reactor and is characterized by the large specific interfacial area.
Example of liquid-liquid slug flow (single channel)
Example of gas-liquid slug flow (15 channels)
Conceptual Image of Slug Flow
Exellent phase separation performance of SMCR®
Exellent phase separation performance of SMCR®（0:44）
SMCR® construction offers these advantages:
- Uniform distribution of fluids to multi channels
- Various flow conditions (slug flow*, two-layer flow, annular flow, etc.)
- Arbitrary mixing structures (T-junction, Y-junction, etc.)
- Handling multiple fluids in a single unit
- Charge and discharge of fluids partway along each channel.
- Choice of materials (Ni alloy steel, stainless steel, aluminum alloy, ceramic, etc.)