3D Printing in Synthetic and Physical Chemistry
This chapter describes the use of 3D printing in the development of reactors for both synthetic chemistry and physical chemistry; with the latter mostly in the sub-field of electrochemistry. Using this technology, modern reactors can be designed and developed with precisely controlled topology, geometry, and composition. Techniques such as FDM printing have allowed the easy incorporation of reagents and other accessories directly into the reactors during the printing process. Novel metallic and polymeric flow reactors have been printed offering full design freedom and complete control over the mixing structures, inlets, outlets, flow paths, and residence volumes. These flow reactors have been seamlessly integrated with conventional analytical techniques for inline and online analysis. This has resulted in real-time insights about reaction products and intermediates, allowing successful optimisation of both the reactor design and the reaction conditions. Expensive and complex flow plates for electrochemical cells (electrolysers and redox flow batteries) have also been reproduced using 3D printing. This chapter also discusses the chemical and thermal stability of various print materials that are commonly used with FDM, SL, PolyJet, SLS, and SLM 3D printing techniques. To date, the use of 3D printing in the field of synthetic chemistry and electrochemistry has been restricted by the availability of suitable materials. However, the continuing emergence of more resistant composite and functional 3D print materials will help to drive the development of 3D-printed chemical reactors.