Designed porous milli-scale reactors with enhanced interfacial mass transfer in two-phase flows
The hydrodynamics and mass transfer characteristics in liquid–liquid flow through various structured and well-defined porous reactors are characterized using laser based optical measurements (PIV and PLIF) in combination with chemical extraction methods. We investigate both high and low interfacial tension fluid systems (toluene–water and n-butanol–water), and we have identified that depending on the fluid properties different design parameters of the porous structures play a crucial role in determining the overall mass transfer performance. In general, the porous reactors enhance slug breakup, resulting in lower mean slug lengths for both phases compared to an empty tube and an associated enhancement in surface renewal velocities. The designed porous milli-scale reactors provide enhanced mass transfer performance, with an order of magnitude reduced energy dissipation compared to conventional milli-scale packed bed reactors.