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Rig for design and scale-up of flame aerosol synthesis of nanostructured materials

English title Rig for design and scale-up of flame aerosol synthesis of nanostructured materials
Applicant Pratsinis Sotiris E.
Number 121359
Funding scheme R'EQUIP
Research institution Institut für Verfahrenstechnik ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Chemical Engineering
Start/End 01.07.2008 - 30.06.2009
Approved amount 385'000.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Chemical Engineering
Material Sciences
Mechanical Engineering

Keywords (12)

Nanoparticle synthesis; Process scale-up; Process simulation; Gas-phase synthesis of materials; Nanopowder containment; CO2 reduction; Emission control; Process automation; Online diagnostics; gas-phase synthesis; nanoparticle containment; nanomaterials

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
The project concerns the design and assembling of a pilot-scale rig to investigate scale-up of gas-phase nanoparticle synthesis and manufacturing of nanopowders. Gas-phase nanoparticle synthesis is a highly attractive manufacturing route that results in products of unique morphology and metastable phase composition without generating liquid by-products. The pilot-scale rig will employ the flame spray pyrolysis (FSP) process for synthesis of nanoparticles that was developed by our group and today is used at other ETH and EMPA laboratories as well as at academic and industrial labs throughout the world. Currently applied FSP reactors are laboratory units for production of milligram to gram batches of nanoparticles. With the rapid advancement of the field and nanomaterials beginning to enter into products on one side and a growing awareness of potential health effects of nanoparticles on the other side new questions related to nanoparticle production and safe handling arise. These questions concern process and equipment design and control, process safety, nanoparticle containment in the production unit, nanopowder collection and packaging, zero particle emission into the workspace and environment, removal of nanoparticles from off-gas and waste water streams, as well as optimized use of material and energy resources by improved reactor and process design.The FSP pilot-scale rig will be used to address and investigate these questions on a fundamental basis. It will simulate the entire nanoparticle production chain from raw material formulation to nanoparticle formation, collection, packaging and off-gas treatment at production rates up to a few kg/h. For example, it will be investigated by computational fluid and particle dynamics along with non-intrusive diagnostics how this pilot-scale aerosol reactor can be optimized with respect to raw materials consumption, energy efficiency and product homogeneity. Throughout the rig design and operation, emphasis will be given to workplace safety and nanoparticle containment. The pilot-scale rig will be modular allowing to study and improve individual parts and components in various ongoing research projects of our laboratories. In addition to addressing such fundamental questions related to manufacturing of nanomaterials, the unit will produce large batches (~kg) of nanoparticles for ongoing and future research projects of our group or other Swiss research institutions. To the best of our knowledge, such an automated pilot-scale unit for nanoparticle synthesis will be unparalleled worldwide for education of students in a rapidly growing engineering field.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
114095 Dry synthesis of softly-agglomerated, metal/ceramic nanoparticles for functional nanocomposites 01.10.2006 Project funding (Div. I-III)
119946 Flame-made Nanostructured Materials: Aerosol Dynamics at High Particle Concentration 01.04.2008 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

The aim of this request is to support the assembling of a pilot-scale rig for gas-phase nanoparticle synthesis, a highly attractive manufacturing route that results in products of unique morphology and metastable phase composition without generating liquid by-products. This unit will be used to investigate optimal reactor design and nanoparticle collection and handling as well as prevention of nanoparticle emissions during their large scale manufacture. Emphasis will be given to workplace safety and process energy efficiency. In addition, the unit will produce large batches (~kg) of nanoparticles to study their incorporation and performance in liquid and polymeric matrices as well for the coating of 2- and 3-D objects. Such nanoparticle quantities are attractive in ongoing research projects related to high-performance ceramics, polymer-nanocomposites, battery materials, sensors, catalysts and even nutrition fortification. Also, such a unit can provide other research groups with quantities of nanoparticles that can not be made with standard laboratory equipment, thus opening the door to a new stage of nanomaterial development for wide use of nanotechnology products. The pilot-scale reactor will employ the flame spray pyrolysis (FSP) process for synthesis of nanoparticles that was developed by our group and today is used at other ETH and EMPA laboratories as well as at academic and industrial labs in Australia, UK, Spain, USA, Japan and Thailand. Currently applied FSP reactors are laboratory units for production of milligram to gram batches of nanoparticles. With the rapid advancement of the field and nanomaterials beginning to enter into products on one side and a growing awareness of potential health effects of nanoparticles on the other side new questions related to nanoparticle production and safe handling arise. These questions concern process and equipment design and control, process safety, nanoparticle containment in the production unit, nanopowder collection and packaging, zero particle emission into the workspace and environment, removal of nanoparticles from off-gas and waste water streams, as well as optimized use of material and energy resources by improved reactor and process design. These questions will be addressed on a fundamental basis with the new FSP pilot plant. This unit will simulate the entire nanoparticle production chain from raw material formulation to nanoparticle formation, collection, packaging and off-gas treatment at production rates up to a few kg/h. For example, it will be investigated by computational fluid and particle dynamics along with non-intrusive diagnostics how this pilot-scale aerosol reactor can be optimized with respect to raw materials consumption, energy efficiency and product homogeneity. Furthermore, the pilot-scale unit will enable us to verify Langevin dynamic simulations of nanoparticle deposition on porous membranes and filter textiles allowing to increase the nanoparticle collection efficiency of filters by improved filter design and composition. The pilot-scale unit will be equipped with temperature, pressure, level, particle concentration, and flame radiation sensors and controllers connected to a programmable logic controller (PLC) for automation. This allows to investigate automation concepts for this process with extreme temperatures (up to 3000 °C), fast reactions (milliseconds) and ultrafine (nano) particles. Automation is crucial for the implementation of safety shut-down mechanisms preventing undesired nanoparticle production and emission. Process automation and data logging will further allow us to study long-term effects by continuous operation like product built-up, filter clogging, heat management, material fatigue and particle containment that can not be investigated in current laboratory reactors that operate a few hours in a row, at best. This pilot-scale rig will be modular allowing to study and improve individual parts and components in various ongoing research projects of our laboratories. To the best of our knowledge, such an automated pilot-scale unit for nanoparticle synthesis will be unparalleled worldwide for education of students in a rapidly growing engineering field.
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