478728 Development of Structured Packing Via Additive Manufacturing

Monday, November 14, 2016
Grand Ballroom B (Hilton San Francisco Union Square)
Paaras S. Agrawal and Jason E. Bara, Chemical & Biological Engineering, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL

Our research explores the role that additive manufacturing can play in the design and production of structured packing in an effort to improve the efficiency of small scale chemical laboratory equipment (e.g., condensers, distillation heads). Structured packing forces fluids to take intricate paths across their medium creating turbulent flow which leads to enhancements in mass and heat transfer rates. Furthermore, developments in additive manufacturing have led to unprecedented levels of specificity being achieved in the production of small scale devices and offer a promising medium both in terms of materials used and precision.

This study focuses on the design and testing of metal structured packing created through a CAD medium with an emphasis on creating surfaces with high surface area to volume ratios. After the production phase, these designs will be tested in a distillation experimental setup to measure the efficiency gains that these novel devices can offer over traditionally manufactured structured packing in an effort to further understand the potential application that additive manufacturing can play in small scale distillation experiments. We are particularly interested in developing “drop-in” packings that can be used with existing, commercially available laboratory glassware.

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