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Product description
15-02-2018  |  735x
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Polymerization reactor for polyolefin synthesis

When reality deviates from spec

The inquiry seemed relatively simple: “We’re looking for a glass or metal polymerization reactor; plus a frame, agitator, gas regulator and probably a thermostat. We want to use tit for research into the synthesis of polyolefins.” No problem for Autoclave; after all, 95% of its deliveries are customer-specific solutions. However, when the fume cupboard dimensions turned out to be very different from the original spec, it became quite a challenge. In the end, it was a collaboration between Autoclave, two departments of Büchi, and thermostat supplier Huber that came up with the ideal solution.

Within the University of Maastricht, Dario Romano and his colleagues conduct research into the synthesis of polyolefins. As part of their investigations, they test existing and new catalytic systems for the synthesis of both olefin and bio-based polymers. The materials produced by these processes vary from basic plastics (feedstocks) to polymers for high-end engineering applications; for example for armoured vehicles or biomedical particles.

Process testing takes place in a reactor that must enable close monitoring of the behaviour of the polymerization reaction, at both large and small scale, and across a wide range of synthesis conditions.

The process
The reactor vessels can be quickly swapped in and out of the system, which can test process volumes ranging from 0.5 to 10 litres. The operating temperature varies from -40 to +250°C, while the pressure range runs from total vacuum to +50 bar. The gas dosing unit precisely regulates the ethylene and propylene used during polymerization reactions. Reactions typically take place at about 50°C and 5-10 bar.

The system was developed by Autoclave in close cooperation with several other parties. For example, the thermostat supplier offered support in minimizing the dimensions of the system. This proved to be necessary due to the variance between the original fume cupboard design and what was ultimately delivered.
At the same time, specialists in the Autoclave and Glass divisions at Büchi combined their efforts to ensure that this special test system would be ergonomically friendly, safe, and efficient.

End result
The intensive collaboration has resulted in the development of an entirely customer-specific solution, comprising two systems built around a Pilotclave type 3 reactor. This is combined with a sensor for the volumetric measurement of gas consumption, plus software and thermostat.

The construction enables the user to swap reactor vessels with minimum effort, by integrating the agitator drive into the vessel lid, and permanently mounting the entire assembly in the system. The assembly can be left undisturbed when exchanging reactor vessels, thus avoiding the need to disconnect any wiring or lines. To enable the reactor vessels to be quickly, cleanly and safely disconnected from the thermostat, the hoses and double wall connections are all fitted with a Huber quick coupling.

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Related trade show

In 2018, the 19th edition of the annual trade fair for laboratory professionals will be held in Thursday the 15th and Friday the 16th of March in Brussels Kart Expo in Groot-Bijgaarden. Laborama Expo brings together a whole host of suppliers for your every laboratory need, going from analytical equipment, software and lab furniture to consumables, chemicals and many more. Go take a look in the “Products & Services” section under the catalogue tab do discover the variety of products and brands that will be on show in 2018. During Laborama Expo 2018 we’ll see the return of the 2 Live Labs, albeit with an adapted concept. The live demonstrations will all be separate to allow the visitors to pick and choose the ones to their liking. In addition to the Live Labs, visitors can also participate in 2 routes. The Water Route takes the visitor on a trip through the venue to visit exhibitors with products or services for water research and treatment. In the Life Science Route, exhibitors that are active in the field of life sciences, present their newest measuring methods and analysis techniques. Be sure to not miss out on the seminars during Laborama Expo 2018. With speakers such as Iwan de Koning from Janssen Pharmaceutice and professors Jan Tytgat (KUL) and Peter Van Eenoo (UGent), the Conference Room will be buzzing with activity. New this year is the Nova Square, where visitors can discover companies that are new to Laborama Expo. Recycling and sustainability remain a focus of Laborama Expo. In 2018, the Recupel Drive In returns to the Laborama Expo parking lot. In this collection point for small laboratory equipment, visitors can drop off their old equipment prior to their visit to the trade fair.
15-03-2018 | Fair | 2 days | Brussels | Entry: paid
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