The effect of microreactor geometry on performance

Richard I. Masel, Edmund G. Seebauer, Vaidyanathan Ravi Subramanian, Zheng Ni

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


The objective of this paper is to understand how microreactor geometry affects performance. In particular, the performance of posted and channel microreactors is compared for a simple test reaction 2 NH3 → N2 + 3 H2. We find that geometry plays an important role in performance. For example at a temperature of 550 C and a residence time of 0.2 seconds, a posted reactor gives about 50% conversion while a straight channel reactor gives 98% conversion. Experimentally, the conversion in the posted reactor is as expected for a CSTR, while the conversion in the channel reactor is as expected for a PFR. Flow visualization using smoke to image the flow shows little backmixing in the channel reactor, while the posted reactor shows considerable mixing. RTD measurements show a narrow residence time distribution for the channel reactor. In contrast, the posted reactor shows a broad residence time distribution with many fluctuations. This result suggests that the presence of posts can induce considerable backmixing in a microreactor, even though the flow is laminar.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005
Externally publishedYes
Event05AIChE: 2005 AIChE Annual Meeting and Fall Showcase - Cincinnati, OH, United States
Duration: Oct 30 2005Nov 4 2005


Other05AIChE: 2005 AIChE Annual Meeting and Fall Showcase
CountryUnited States
CityCincinnati, OH


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)

Cite this

Masel, R. I., Seebauer, E. G., Subramanian, V. R., & Ni, Z. (2005). The effect of microreactor geometry on performance. Paper presented at 05AIChE: 2005 AIChE Annual Meeting and Fall Showcase, Cincinnati, OH, United States.