Vortex fluidic device mixes the immiscible
Flinders University researchers are using their vortex fluidic device to mix immiscible liquids, an advance that could improve future products and industrial processes.
Using the highly advanced rapid fluidic flow techniques possible in the vortex fluidic device (VFD), the Australian research team has completed 10 years of research to find a way to use clean chemistry to unlock ‘mixing immiscibles’.
According to Flinders University Professor Colin Raston, senior author in a new paper published in Chemical Science, this will have applications in a range of global industries, from food processing and nutraceuticals to cosmetics and drug delivery.
“Mixing immiscible liquids is fundamentally important in process engineering and usually involves a lot of energy input and waste products,” Professor Raston said in a statement. “We now demonstrate how this process, using a common solvent and water, can avoid the use of other substances for controlling reactions across immiscible liquids, making it cleaner and greener.”
“Using thin-film microfluidics in combination with high shear flow chemistry and high heat and mass transfer, the rapidly evolving VFD technology is overcoming the mixing limitations of traditional batch processing,” said co-author Matt Jellicoe, from the Flinders Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology.
“We conducted over 100,000 experiments to establish how liquids mix and what their flow behaviours are at very small nanometre dimensions,” added co-author Aghil Igder, also from the Flinders Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology.
The Flinders University team has also upsized the VFD machine on experimental biodegradable polymers to start making its organic substances and clean technologies available at scale for a range of industries.
The VFD has been used in multiple experiments to produce quality drug elements such as peptides, better fish oil and food products and many other value-adding green chemical processes which can now be replicated in a scaled-up version of the device.
Collaborators in the project include researchers from Guangzhou University in China, The University of WA, University of Newcastle, ANSTO and Flinders Microscopy and Microanalysis and Flinders Centre for Marine Bioproducts Development at Flinders University.
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