Engineering Functional Materials for Catalytic Smart Microreactors

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bath
Department Name: Chemical Engineering


There has been tremendous recent progress in manufacturing very small chemical reactors with channels of the order of micrometres in size. These microreactors allow rapid evaluation of new chemical reactions compared with larger units. The current methods of manufacturing of such reactors are based on expensive and polluting electronics manufacturing techniques. This project will develop faster, cheaper and multifunctional devices with much wider range of potential application. This project involves combining new fabrication methods with recently developed catalysts to provide novel and efficient microreactors. It is a blend of materials science, engineering and chemistry involving mechanical and materials engineers (Liverpool), chemists and surface scientists (Durham) and polymer and organic chemists and chemical engineers (Bath). The complementary expertise of these groups is vital to the success of the programme.The Liverpool group in the first stage of the project will use their experience in Selective Laser Melting (SLM) and Digital Light Processing (DLP) to fabricate novel reactors containing channels < 100 microns in size for reactant and heat exchange fluids in a single unit. These will be evaluated as potential industrial reactors using novel catalysts developed at Bath involving magnetic nanoparticles. In the second stage, the reactant channels will be functionalised using plasma techniques at Durham and converted to catalytically active species using chemistry developed at Bath. A series of test reactions will be performed and the performance analysed by a number of methods. These will require the development of in-situ methods, in order to optimise the design of the reactors and to illustrate the potential benefits to the materials, chemical and pharmaceutical industries. The end result will be a multifunctional reactor with integrated analytics optimised for selected chemical reactions of immediate relevance to the fine chemicals industries.
Description Development of nanostructured magnetic catalyst for photochemical oxidation of organic wastes
Exploitation Route Catalyst for application in wastewater treatment
Sectors Chemicals,Environment

Description A Flow Process For Aminomethylations Using Catalysts Supported On Magnetic Nanoparticles
Amount £220,450 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/G02703X/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2009 
End 06/2011
Description Engineering Functional Materials for Catalytic Smart Microreactors
Amount £1,075,268 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/D064937/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 09/2006 
End 03/2010
Description Enhanced activity and reusability of TiO2 loaded magnetic photo-catalysts 
Organisation University of Extremadura
Department Faculty of Medicine
Country Spain 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Synthesis and characterisation of magnetic nanocatalysts
Collaborator Contribution Photocatalytic oxidation
Impact Publications: P.M. Álvarez, J. Jaramillo, F. López-Piñero; P. Plucinski, Preparation and characterization of magnetic TiO2 nanoparticles and their utilisation for the degradation of emerging pollutants in water, Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 100, 338-345 (2011). A. Rey, D.H. Quinones, P.M. Álvarez, F.J. Beltrán, P.K. Plucinski, Simulated solar-light assisted photocatalytic ozonation of metoprolol over titania-coated magnetic activated carbon, Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 111-112, 246-253 (2012). D.H. Quiñones, A. Rey, P.M. Álvarez, F.J. Beltrán, P.K. Plucinski, Enhanced activity and reusability of TiO2 loaded magnetic activated carbon for solar photocatalytic ozonation, Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 144, 96-106 (2014).
Start Year 2009
Description MCP Equipment 
Organisation MCP Equipment
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
Start Year 2006