Fundamental analysis and technological solutions for process intensification using microreactors

Microreactor technology is receiving increasing interest because it enables an unprecedented control of process conditions, further stimulated by the rapid growth of microfabrication technologies, based on additive manufacturing. Indeed, process miniaturization is the main route towards process intensification, allowing chemical reactions to be carried out with higher yields, less wastes and energy as well as safer conditions with respect to conventional batch/semi-batch processes used for drug or chemical synthesis.

Such enthusiasm about microfluidics as a pivotal pathway towards sustainable development, is partially hindered by major technological barriers that ask for a better comprehension of the fluid phenomena at the microscale

Activities on this topic are:

  • Experiments and Direct Numerical Simulations of mixing and reactions in microreactors;
  • Stability analysis and design optimization;
  • Production of microparticles in microdevices;
  • Microfabrication.

Research group

  • Alessandro Mariotti, Chiara Galletti, Simone Camarri, Elisabetta Brunazzi, Roberto Mauri, Maria Vittoria Salvetti (experiments, DNS, stability and optimization)
  • Armando Viviano Razionale, Alessandro Paoli, Gino Dini, Michele Lanzetta (microfabrication)
  • Maria Grazia Cascone, Luigi Lazzeri, Elisabetta Rosellini (microparticles)

External collaborations:
Dino Di Carlo, UCLA (www.biomicrofluidics.com)


Funding:

  • University of Pisa PRA 2017-2018 project “Design, fabbricazione, analisi sperimentale e numerica di microreattori”
  • University of Pisa PRA_2015 project “Analisi e Controllo del Flusso in Micro-Miscelatori a T”
  • CINECA ISCRA 2017 class B project “MIRE – MIcrodevices for liquid-liquid REactions”
  • CINECA ISCRA 2015 class B project “Micro-mixing of complex fluids

Main publications:

  • Mariotti, A., Galletti, C., Salvetti, M.V., Brunazzi, E. Unsteady Flow Regimes in a T-Shaped Micromixer: Mixing and Characteristic Frequencies (2019) Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, 58 (29), pp. 13340-13356.
  • Mariotti, A., Galletti, C., Brunazzi, E., Salvetti, M.V. Steady flow regimes and mixing performance in arrow-shaped micro-mixers (2019) Physical Review Fluids, 4 (3), art. no. 034201, .
  • Galletti, C., Mariotti, A., Siconolfi, L., Mauri, R., Brunazzi, E. Numerical investigation of flow regimes in T-shaped micromixers: Benchmark between finite volume and spectral element methods (2019) Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering, 97 (2), pp. 528-541.
  • Mariotti, A., Galletti, C., Mauri, R., Salvetti, M.V., Brunazzi, E. Steady and unsteady regimes in a T-shaped micro-mixer: Synergic experimental and numerical investigation (2018) Chemical Engineering Journal, 341, pp. 414-431.
  • Galletti, C., Brunazzi, E., Mauri, R. Unsteady mixing of binary liquid mixtures with composition-dependent viscosity (2017) Chemical Engineering Science, 164, pp. 333-343.
  • Siconolfi, L., Camarri, S., Salvetti, M.V. T-mixer operating with water at different temperatures: Simulation and stability analysis (2018) Physical Review Fluids, 3 (3), art. no. 033902.