Tandon Researchers Investigate Small-Scale Reactors with Big-Scale Potential
September 9, 2019
The industrial use of polyolefins — a class of polymer ubiquitous in food packaging, consumer goods, and other items — requires an enormous amount of time, space, and energy. In order to discover a new polymer, chemical engineers must laboriously screen hundreds of catalysts, with a typical campaign taking up to an entire year, and the chemical industry’s massive commercial facilities consume more electricity and generate more waste than almost any other sector in the nation.
Professor of Chemical Engineering Ryan Hartman, who runs Tandon’s Flow Chemistry with Microsystems Laboratory, and doctoral student Benjamin Rizkinare investigating ways in which the discovery process can be scaled down using Artificially Intelligent Autonomous Microreactors (microAIRs), which they predict will be much quicker, safer, and cleaner than current technologies.