Many industrial chemical processes involve the mixing of two or more liquids. By reducing chemical reactors to microscale dimensions, engineers seek to take advantage of decreased diffusion lengths, leading to increased effectiveness (e.g., higher purity of product) over larger process components. In this study, computational models developed using the commercial multiphysics code CFD-ACE+ are used to predict flow within microreactor channels. Two aqueous streams enter a channel—one containing a contaminant and the other devoid of the contaminant. Changes in two geometric attributes are investigated with respect to their effect on mixing of the streams: 1) packing feature layout within the channel and 2) channel aspect ratio. Reynolds numbers (Re) for the simulations range between 0.1 and 100. Results indicate that both packing feature position within the channel and channel aspect ratio can have a substantial impact on mixing. Between Re = 0.1 and Re = 1, mixing efficiency generally decreases with increasing Re; however, as the Re is increased from 1 to 100, fluid flow patterns in the channel are altered, and wake regions and streamline changes created by the packing features lead to improved mixing. Examples showing enhanced chemical conversion during heterogeneous catalysis as a result of better mixing are also presented.

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