Mar 22, 2017

Using Common 3D Printers for Hard Science

Here is a great example on how simple 3d printers are being used by scientists to make low cost specialist equipment in field of chemistry. 
Team of researchers form University of Helsinki used 3d printers to develop a chemical microreactor.

Gianmario Scotti, one of the researchers, published this video and the description:
In this video abstract we present a 3D printed polypropylene microreactor with an integrated stirring bar and nano-electrospray needle.

The nano-ESI needle is the ion source of our microreactor, and is used to couple it directly to a mass spectrometer. The microreactor is used to analyse chemical reactions with the mass spectrometer. The reaction is analysed as it happens.

We used polypropylene to 3D print the microreactor, because polypropylene is a very refractory polymer in the sense that it is neither affected by strong acids or alkaline solutions, nor by the great majority of solvents used in chemical synthesis.

This is the first 3D printed microreactor with an integrated ion source. It is also the first 3D printed microreactor with an integrated stir bar. These enable us to monitor the chemical reactions in real time.





Here are links to full research paper:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/315119578_A_miniaturised_3D_printed_polypropylene_reactor_for_online_reaction_analysis_by_mass_spectrometry

http://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2017/re/c7re00015d#!divAbstract


Here is the printed reactor connected to a spectrometer and held with 3d printed jig