Enhancing the yield of calcium carbonate precipitation by obstacles in laminar flow in a confined geometry†
Flow-driven precipitation experiments are performed in model porous media shaped within the confinement of a Hele-Shaw cell. Precipitation pattern formation and the yield of the reaction are investigated when borosilicate glass beads of different sizes are used in a mono-layer arrangement. The trend of the amount of precipitate produced in various porous media is estimated via visual observation. In addition, a new method is elaborated to complement such image analysis based results by titration experiments performed on gel-embedded precipitate patterns. The yield of confined porous systems is compared to experiments carried out in unsegmented reactors. It is found that the obstacles increase the amount of product and preserve its radial spatial distribution. The precipitate pattern is successfully conserved in a slightly cross-linked hydrogel matrix and its microstructure is examined using SEM. The spatial distribution of the precipitate across the cell gap is revealed using X-ray microtomography.