442744 Design of 3D-Printable Structured Column Packing for CO2 Capture

Monday, November 9, 2015
Exhibit Hall 1 (Salt Palace Convention Center)
Brad Johnson, Chemical Engineering, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ and Jason E. Bara, Chemical & Biological Engineering, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL

Additive Manufacturing, or 3D Printing, has exploded in popularity because of its economical and expansive production options. 3D Printing’s digital basis allows almost any computer generated object to be readily printed in 3D in a variety of different materials, ranging from polymers to metals. This versatility allows for unique chemical engineering components to be designed, parametrically optimized, and printed. Carbon Dioxide (CO­2) is a well know greenhouse gas and regulated pollutant. Typically, CO2 is removed from a process via an absorption column filled with metal structured packing. Currently, the design of metal structured packing is constrained by the sheet metal it is produced from, limiting design options. By utilizing an organic surface functions as a base, unique structured packing can be rapidly designed and performance tested.

This work demonstrates the viability of unique 3D printed packing for CO2 removal and reliability of finite element simulation techniques for reducing the capital and operational expenses of CO­­2 absorption columns. The isosurface-based packing’s specific area was 1753 m2/m3. The average void fraction of this packing is 0.68. These values are substantially larger than typical commercial products, indicating that this design will have a pressure drop larger than the industry standard. It is clear that achieving a highly efficient packing for CO2 capture is beyond the scope of this work. Instead, future work will focus on improving the design to target a smaller packing market like the distillation hobbyist or educational market. The ability to 3D print allows for custom orders to be specified for each order, reducing waste and saving end-users’ money. By varying the isosurface constants and physical design values, the packing’s pressure drop and mass transfer can be improved, providing a robust, affordable column packing. Additional computational and experimental testing will quantify the packing’s performance.

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