Technology

The SpinChem RBR has become an often used technology for heterogeneous catalysis at our research group.

– Dr. Dennis Kaufhold, BASF Personal Care and Nutrition, Germany

Revolutionize your reactions

With a SpinChem® Rotating Bed Reactor (RBR) you can eliminate slow reaction kinetics caused by poor mass transfer between your solution and solid phase. The SpinChem® RBR design is flexible and can be used for heterogeneous reactions with numerous types of solid phases, including immobilized enzymes, encapsulated cells and ion exchangers. Furthermore, it can be used for purification with metal scavengers, active carbon and water adsorbents. Utilizing the SpinChem® RBR typically results in faster processes, higher yields or reduced consumption of reagents, depending on the type of process. In addition, the SpinChem® RBR extends the lifetime of the solid phase particles by minimizing grinding and fines, while at the same time simplifying the solid phase collection and recycling. The SpinChem® RBR concept is fully scalable, from laboratory to production, thus providing more efficient reaction development and improved production economy.

spinchem-rbr-principle-illustrationA clever concept

The SpinChem® Rotating Bed Reactor (RBR) retains the solid phase as a packed bed inside the rotating cylinder. As the RBR spins, a continuously circulating flow develops. Reaction solution is rapidly aspirated from the bottom of the vessel, percolated through the solid phase and quickly returned to the vessel. By the intelligent design of the SpinChem® RBR and vessel, the axial mixing and convective transport are maximized. The resulting efficient mass transfer minimizes reaction time, and boosts product yields. This holds even for liquids that are immiscible or of different viscosity, as well as for reactions demanding distribution of dissolved gases.

Application 1006

Video revealing the efficient mass transfer and resulting shorter reaction time with a rotating bed reactor (RBR) during ion-exchange neutralization of a base. The reaction with the RBR finished 30% faster and left a completely clear solution without any particles.

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    Conditions: Neutralization of sodium hydroxide (1 M, 200 µL) by cation exchanger Amberlite IRN99 (20 mL) placed either in a SpinChem® S311 rotating bed reactor (RBR) or distributed in solution agitated by a 5 cm impeller, both operated at 800 rpm within a SpinChem® V311 flower-baffled reaction vessel containing 800 mL water with phenolphthalein (20 mg/L). The reaction with RBR finished after 23 s versus 33s for the stirred tank reactor with impeller.

Application 1024

Comparison of rotating bed reactor (RBR) technology and fixed bed reactor (FBR) column during activated carbon decolourization. The more efficient use of the adsorbent with a SpinChem® RBR enabled completion of the process within 40% of the time at the same material amount or allowed reduction to 50% material while still being able to finish the process within the same time as the FBR.

Application 1009

Video illustrating how a mixture of red and blue dyes with different chemical properties can be selectively extracted onto different adsorbents within the same run using a rotating bed reactor (RBR). The dyes were separated based on ionic and hydrophobic interactions, respectively.

Products: SpinChem® RBR S2
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    Conditions: Allura red (40 µM) and methylene blue (13 µM) in deionized water (about 160 mL) were adsorbed onto Amberlite IRA900 Cl (13 mL, 650-820 µm) and Amberlite XAD1600N (13 mL, 400±50 µm), respectively. Each adsorbent was filled into two of the four compartments in a SpinChem® S221 rotating bed reactor (RBR) operated at 800 rpm within a SpinChem® V221 flower-baffled reaction vessel. The total extraction time for one run was nine minutes and the video contains photos of the adsorbents before and after two repeated extractions.

Application 1020

Computational fluid dynamics simulations is an important tool in the optimization of geometries during development of SpinChem® rotating bed reactor (RBR) products. The image shows velocity vectors in a cross section of the flow around a SpinChem® RBR, in a flower baffled reaction vessel, simulated using ANSYS Fluent software under typical laboratory conditions.

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    Conditions: The flow was simulated in ANSYS Fluent 17.1 using the steady MRF model at 500 rpm and the SST k-omega turbulence model on a mesh of 0.96 million elements. All dimensions used was identical to the SpinChem® RBR S221 and closely matched the SpinChem® flower baffled reaction vessel V221.

Application 1010

Photos showing how grinding caused by stirring of molecular sieves can be completely avoided by using a rotating bed reactor (RBR). Molecular sieves contained in a RBR for a 200 mL vessel can theoretically hold 0.23 moles of water. This allows synthesis of product in the range of 100 gram by ester condensation or drying of 25 litres of analytical grade organic solvent.

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    Conditions: Molecular sieve (3 Å, rods 3-5 mm, 15 g), placed either into a SpinChem® S221 rotating bed reactor (RBR) or free in solution agitated by a 3-blade stainless steel propeller (5 cm), both operated at 500 rpm within a SpinChem® V211 flower-baffled reaction vessel containing isopropanol (130 mL). Photos were taken after 24 hours of operation with the RBR and stirrer in place, respectively. The theoretical calculation assumed an RBR with space for 20 g molecular sieve with a 20% (w/w) water adsorption capacity, a synthesis yield of 99%, a product weight of 450 g/mol, and an organic solvent with a density of 0.8 kg/L and an initial moisture content of 200 ppm; data partly taken from literature; J. Org. Chem. 2010 (75) 8351-8354.

Application 1012

Time lapse video illustrating how an externally connected rotating bed reactor (RBR) can pump and process large liquid volumes by the convective flow created by the spinning RBR. The concept enables handling of volumes at least 10-100 times larger than the external vessel, thus facilitating installation of RBR technology into existing plant equipment.

Products: SpinChem® RBR S2
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    Conditions: A water filled (2 L) connected system consisting of a tank (1 L) to which an external flower baffled vessel (200 mL) was connected via pipes (24.6 mm ID). A SpinChem® rotating bed reactor (RBR) S221 filled with activated carbon (28 mL, 20-50 mesh) was placed in the external vessel and rotated at 1000 rpm adsorbing dissolved methylene blue (40 mg) within 14 minutes.

Application 1007

Video showing the principle of an automated rotating bed reactor system capable of filling a solution, neutralizing it by ion exchange and draining it. By microcomputer control, unattended semi-continuous batch processing was accomplished for many cycles until the ion exchanger was completely saturated.

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    Conditions: Neutralization of about 500 mL water with 0.63 mM NaOH and 110 mg/L phenolphthalein within a SpinChem® S311 flower-baffled reaction vessel, using a SpinChem® RBR S311 containing 50 mL Amberlite IRN99 at 500 rpm. The automated sequence included filling to level sensor, starting the overhead stirrer motor, stopping stirrer motor when absorbance probe recorded a clear solution, opening the bottom valve until vessel was empty and finally closing the bottom valve to get ready for a new cycle. The entire sequence was controlled by a microcomputer allowing a preset number of cycles to be executed without manual interaction.

Application 1001

Investigation of how rotational speed influences the efficiency of rotating bed reactors (RBR) for a diversity of processes such as adsorption, neutralization and ammonolysis. It was demonstrated how reaction rates could reach a plateau with the SpinChem® RBR when mass transfer efficiency exceeded reaction speed.

Application 1015

Time lapse video demonstrating a prototype vehicle capable of processing two cubic metres of coloured water within five minutes. The raft was carrying two rotating bed reactors that neutralized the basic surface water in a square pond by ion exchange.

Products: SpinChem® RBR S4
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    Conditions: A pond containing tap water (2000 L), sodium hydroxide (150 mL, 1 M), and phenolphthalein (0.8 g) was neutralized within five minutes by two prototype rotating bed reactors, containing a total of 960 mL IRN99 H+ ion exchange resin, attached to a remote controlled floating prototype vehicle maneuvered across the water surface. The project was a cooperation between SpinChem, Umeå University and MTC centre for environmental technology.

Additional technical applications