Flinders University researchers are using their vortex fluidic device to mix immiscible liquids, an advancement that could improve future products and industrial processes.
Using the highly advanced fast fluidic flow techniques possible in the vortex fluidic device (VFD), the Australian research team completed 10 years of research to find a way to use clean chemistry to unlock ‘immiscible mixing’.
According to Flinders University Professor Colin Raston, senior author in a new paper published in Chemical Sciences† this will have applications in a range of global industries from food processing and nutraceuticals to cosmetics and drug delivery.
MORE FROM PRODUCTION
“The mixing of immiscible liquids is fundamental in process engineering and usually involves a lot of energy input and waste products,” Professor Raston said in a statement. “We now show how this process, using a common solvent and water, can avoid using other substances to control reactions in immiscible liquids, making it cleaner and greener.”
“By using thin-film microfluidics in combination with high shear flow chemistry and high heat and mass transfer, the rapidly evolving VFD technology overcomes the mixing limitations of traditional batch processing,” said co-author Matt Jellicoe of the Flinders Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology.
“We conducted more than 100,000 experiments to determine how liquids mix and what their flow behavior is at very small nanometer sizes,” added co-author Aghil Igder, also of the Flinders Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology.
The Flinders University team also has: upgraded the VFD machine on experimental biodegradable polymers to begin making its organics and clean technologies widely available to a range of industries.
The VFD has been used in multiple experiments to produce high-value drug elements such as peptides, better fish oil and nutritional products, and many other value-adding green chemical processes that can now be replicated in a scaled-up version of the device.
Contributors to the project include researchers from Guangzhou University in China, the University of WA, University of Newcastle, ANSTO and Flinders Microscopy and Microanalysis, and the Flinders Center for Marine Bioproducts Development at Flinders University.