Chemistry with Highly Reactive Reagents in 3D Printed Reaction Vessels

Share this Article

3D printing has developed towards a useful tool in laboratories for chemical, physical and biotechnological research. Typical applications for 3D printed objects are stopped flow microreactors, where uniquely optimized geometries of the reactor can be realized easily.

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry at the Clausthal University of Technology operated a 3D printer based on the commonly used Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology within the oxygen- and water-free inert gas atmosphere of a glove box. Such glove boxes are routinely used to handle highly reactive and spontaneously inflammable reagents.

As a first result, the mechanical properties of FDM printed parts were found to be significantly improved, if the print was performed under inert conditions. Partly due to the suppression of oxidation processes, which leads to a better layer adhesion, and partly due to an impact on the crystallinity of the printed polymers, the elongation at break as well as the tensile strength were improved. These results have been published freely accessible and shall help for the development of improved FDM printers.

Reaction flasks and reaction cuvettes have been printed out of filaments commonly used for the FDM process such as polyamide. With a wall thickness of 0.12 inch, the printed flasks showed up to be highly pressure resistant (tested with 290 psi) as well as impermeable against oxygen and water. Additionally, they were stable against all common organic solvents. The main focus of the research was the 3D print of flasks and attached cuvettes with exactly the same geometry as the original counterparts made of glass and steel. During short pauses of the printing process, all required reagents and solvents had been inserted into the partly completed reaction flask. Subsequently, the printing process was finalized and a completely closed reaction vessel had been obtained. This procedure led to a reaction vessel, in which the whole synthetic procedure could be performed while at the same time analytical measurements could be realized through the 3D printed cuvette. Most common analytical methods such as UV/Vis, IR and NMR spectroscopy could be applied without significant interference from the matrix polymer. The concept and the geometries of the cuvettes have been published in a freely accessible paper.

Operation of an FDM 3D printer under inert conditions inside a glove box.

In summary, it was possible to 3D print reaction cuvettes inside the inert atmosphere of a glove box and to fill them with highly reactive reagents during small pauses of the print. Subsequently, the flasks could be removed from the glove box and the reaction was monitored directly through the 3D printed cuvette without opening the flask or taking samples. After the reaction had been completed, the flasks were opened and the reaction product isolated without contamination from the printing filament. Recently, the application of the concept for modern palladium-catalyzed syntheses has been published.

 

Discuss this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com or share your thoughts in the Facebook comments below. 

 


Text and images: Eike Hübner

Research undertaken by Eike Hübner and his team, especially first author Felix Lederle

 

Share this Article


Recent News

3DEXPERIENCE: A Virtual Journey, Part 1

US Air Force 3D Prints Part for $2.2 Billion Stealth Bomber



Categories

3D Design

3D Printed Art

3D printed automobiles

3D Printed Food


You May Also Like

US Air Force Uses Senvol ML Software to Qualify Multi-Laser 3D Printing Systems

Over the last few years, Senvol, which provides data to help companies implement additive manufacturing into their workflows, has put a good deal of focus into military applications. Back in...

U.S. Air Force & GE Collaborate in Parts Certification, 3D Print F110 Sump Cover

A collaboration that began last year between GE Additive and GE Aviation and the U.S. Air Force is now coming to fruition. As the U.S. Air Force sought help with...

AFRL and University Partners Used 3D Printed Composite Materials to Make Structural Parts

The Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB) near my hometown of Dayton, Ohio, has long been interested in using 3D printing and composite materials for...

US Air Force Awards nScrypt Research Company Contract for 3D Printed Conformal Phased Array Antenna Project

Florida-based nScrypt, which manufactures industrial systems for micro-dispensing and 3D printing, is already seeing its technology used for military applications with the US Army. But now the US Air Force has jumped...


Shop

View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.