Spinning Disc Reactor – Nanoparticle Production Profit Potential

Review of Article: 20171106-infinity-turbine-sdr-spinning-disc-reactor-nanoparticles-sdr


Spinning Disc Reactors, or SDRs, are a very new type of processing unit that has had new applications discovered every year. All the articles used in this report are under 10 years old, with the newest one being published this year. This demonstrates how new SDRs are, especially in this field. While there is no publicly available information on using SDRs to make quantum dots, I believe that it is possible and most likely is being optimized currently in the private market.

A big field of interest as of lately has been process intensification which is a design approach that focuses on smaller, cleaner, safer, and more energy efficient processes. One design that has received considerable attention as of late has been the spinning disc reactor (SDR). Its basic design includes one or more liquid streams being flowed onto a quickly rotating disc.

The centrifugal acceleration from the rotation creates a very thin liquid film which significantly heightens the mass transfer and micro-mixing ability of the liquid streams. It also allows for more process control due to additional variables in the process including RPMs of the disc, the texture on the disc, the disc temperature, the injection site along the disc, disc size, pressure in the reactor, and environment in the reactor (can include speciality gas injection into reactor space). It also is a continuous feed reactor which can be applied to many processes that have relied on large volume and high residence time designs like batch or continuously stirred tank reactors (CSTR).


While the SDR can be used for many different processes, it excels greatly in a specific few. These include processes that rely on precipitation and uniformly mixed reactants. These traits allow for SDRs to be used in the “bottom-up” production of nanoparticles, where particles are created through nucleations and subsequently crystal growth. This is where batch reactors and CSTRs aren’t as easily applied due to their high volumes and lack of sufficient mixing ability. “Top-down” processing where bulk material is ground down into nanoparticles is typically avoided when trying to achieve nanoparticles of a certain size and narrow size distribution due to the lack of control over the process.

In 2010, the global market for quantum dots was low, sitting at $67 million [27]. It was projected to have an amazing 59.3% compound annual growth rate, which was mostly realized and by 2016 it has become a $610 million global market (with the estimated CAGR it was predicted to reach $670 million by 2015) [28]. The current growth rate is estimated at 41.3% now for 2016 to 2021, predicting the global market to reach $3.4 billion by 2021 [28].

Both silver and titanium dioxide nanoparticles have a realized and open market to enter with predicted growth and new applications coming out consistently. The cost to produce the materials is rather low and the production ability seems high enough, especially with silver, that a company could actively pursue using an SDR to produce the nanoparticles with success. Since the proof of concept and idea is already detailed, there would be a low cost of entry into these markets as well. The revenue from such could be used to support R&D into quantum dots or pharmaceutical nanoparticles.



What is a Spinning Disc Reactor and Why is it important in Green Chemistry

Spinning Disc Reactor | Green Chemistry | Applications:  20171103-infinitysupercritical-spinning-disc-reactor-research

What is a Spinning Disc Reactor ? A SDR is a device which uses a spinning disc, typically in proximity of a stationary surface, to accelerate flow in a centrifugal manner. The components of which activates the flow (which is typically a liquid), to mix, agitate, shear, produce cavitation (vacuum), and produce temperature change, under the influence of boundary layer rotation. One of the main mechanisms at work here is called sonochemistry (producing ultrasonics by forming acoustical cavitation in liquids – which results in chemical activity). For example, when you cavitate water, you get a energy burst which includes UV light, heat, and sound. Also known as a shock wave.

Shock Waves and MicroJets:

A good example is cavitation in water. The spinning disc creates voids which collapse (and implode) that produces a shock wave. The resulting microjet produces thousands of psi of pressure.


The SDR is unique, in that it provides a multifunctional platform, which allows the processor to control the flow acceleration by RPM, and flow temperature by adding or subtracting heat from the unit. Co-solvents, or other compounds can be added to the flow.


Configuration of a Spinning Disc Reactor

Rotors and stators can be rapidly reconfigured to stage pumping, mixing, shearing, extraction, and also provide a platform for complex chemical reactions, such as the production of Quantum Dots (QD). Take multiple chemical components within a liquid, best shows the incredible flexibility of the spinning disc reactor. While the reactions can be very complex, the mechanism to produce those reactions is very basic, and can be done under 4,000 RPM. Best of all, since reactions are very localized, the device is not considered a pressure vessel.

Micromixing Efficiency of a Spinning Disk Reactor

“The use of the spinning disk technology enables one to produce particles continuously

with controllable mean sizes down to 27 nm, without the risk of fouling or blocking.”


Ultra-wetting graphene-based PES ultrafiltration membrane – A novel approach for successful oil-water separation

“More importantly, the water permeability increased by 43 percent with greater than 99 percent selectivity. Based on our findings, we believe that the development of PES-G- PANCMI membrane will open up a solution for successful oil-water separation.”

https://www.researchgate. net/publication/305486217_Ultra- wetting_graphene- based_PES_ultrafiltration_membrane_- _A_novel_approach_for_successful_oil- water_separation

Higee technologies and their applications to green intensified processing

“…technologies which involve the application of high gravity fields, typically in the order of 100-1000g, in order to intensify dynamics, mixing and heat mass transfer in processing fluids.. such as spinning disc reactor (SDR) and rotating packed beds (RPB)… and rotor- stator SDR (RSSDR) … and rotating zig-zag bed (RZB) for achieving green processing benefits.”

https://www.researchgate. net/publication/308404045_Higee_technologi es_and_their_applications_to_green_intensifi ed_processing

A Taylor Vortex Photocatalytic Reactor for Water Purification

Flow evolution in a spinning disc reactor can result in very high overall efficiency of photocatalytic conversion. Centrifugal instability results in pollutant degradation.


Coal yields production of graphene quantum dots at Rice University

“The Rice lab of chemist James Tour found simple methods to reduce three kinds of coal into graphene quantum dots (GQDs), microscopic discs of atom-thick graphene oxide that could be used in medical imaging as well as sensing, electronic and photovoltaic applications. ”

From coal comes 20 percent yield graphene quantum dots. Non-toxic and fluoresce.

Evaluation of a Spinning Disc Reactor for Continuous Processing
“As part of an evaluation of equipment aimed at process intensification, use of a continuously operating spinning disc reactor (SDR) was investigated. Results obtained for two organic reactions and one crystallization are discussed. The SDR was found to be a useful tool for revealing intrinsically fast kinetics as well as for optimizing a process with such kinetics. Control of particle size distribution was demonstrated with the crystallization investigated.”


Optimization of Biodiesel production in Spinning disc Reactor using Response Surface Methodology

“Spinning disc reactor have been fabricated and used for continuous alkali-catalyzed transesterification biodiesel production. The reactor was designed with a 110 mm diameter circular disc made of stainless steel as a static disc and another disc of same dimension made up of high density polyethylene to serve as rotating disc, enclosed on cylindrical vessel made of plexiglass.”

http://www.journalijar. com/article/5096/optimization-of-biodiesel- production-in-spinning-disc-reactor-using- response-surface-methodology/

CFD Numerical Simulation of Biodiesel Synthesis in a Spinning Disc Reactor

“In this paper a two-disc spinning disc reactor for intensified biodiesel synthesis is described and numerically simulated. The reactor consists of two flat discs, located coaxially and parallel to each other with a gap of 0.2 mm between the discs. The upper disc is located on a rotating shaft while the lower disc is stationary. The feed liquids, triglycerides (TG) and methanol are introduced coaxially along the centre line of rotating disc and stationary disc. .”

http://psjd.icm.edu.pl/psjd/element/bwmeta1. element.-psjd-doi-10_1515_cpe-2015-0002

The use of spinning disc reactor for processing ice cream base – effect of ageing in making model ice cream

“The results reveal that the SDR is capable of producing a highly stable ice cream base that requires significantly less ageing than the 18 h typically associated with the traditional process of making ice cream. The SDR process provides intense mixing of ingredients which facilitates the hydration of milk proteins and stabilizers.”

http://onlinelibrary.wiley. com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2621.2009.01934. x/full

Spinning Disc Reactors -A novel processing machine for the food and chemical industry

“Ability to very rapidly heat and cool fluids, especially viscous fluids; pasteurization, fine crystal formation. Very low delta T gives less thermal damage. Self-cleaning easy clean characteristic, enhanced mass transfer for evaporation and odor removal with less thermal damage. Effective use of UV radiation (sunshine treated!) Unique combination of shear and draw gives opportunities for structure manipulation”

http://www.flandersfood. com/sites/default/files/ct_bestand/10/10/21/5 %20FFTD%20Henderson%20.pdf

Concentration of Apple Juice Using Spinning Disc Reactor Technology

“The SDR-made reconstituted apple juices are comparable to both the original pure- pressed apple juice sample and the commercial reconstituted product… It can be concluded that this novel SDR technology is capable of producing apple juice concentrates efficiently without compromising the quality of the juice products. ”

https://www.omicsonline.org/concentration-of- apple-juice-using-spinning-disc-reactor- technology-2157-7110.1000108.php? aid=1136

Shear Assisted Electrochemical Exfoliation of Graphite to Graphene

“Our findings on the crucial role of hydrodynamics in accentuating the exfoliation efficiency suggest a safer, greener, and more automated method for production of high quality graphene from graphite.”


Simple and Large-Scale Strategy to Prepare Flexible Graphene Tape Electrode

When the SDR is used to produce nanoparticles and graphite, the resulting powder can be used with various techniques to apply graphene to make printable electrodes. The technique is as simple as using acrylic transparent tape, and peeling away the tape from graphite foil.


Green Reactors

“The advantages and disadvantages and the and design parameters that need to be considered when selecting microreactors to achieve process intensification (PI) are discussed. Oscillatory flow mixing (OFM) reactor, which includes oscillation of fluids using an external oscillator, is characterized by plug-flow RTD, high heat transfer, and short reaction times.  A plate-type reactor combines the high-heat- transfer capabilities of plate heat exchangers with the mixing of microreactors into a single unit, and is designed such that reactants can be injected at different locations along the flow path. The spinning tube-in-a-tube (STT) reactor is capable of creating sub- Kolmogoroff and near-Kolmogoroff eddies, which can reduce reaction time. The spinning disc reactor (SDR) has a very small reactor holdup, such that very hazardous reactions can also be carried out.”

https://www.researchgate. net/publication/282297425_Green_reactors


The spinning disc reactor (SDR) is an amazing device that has a small footprint with large mixing and chemical reaction potential. The primary benefits of using a SDR are the small size, complex mixing, shear, and sonochemistry reactions which can be performed in a non pressurized device. Using a liquid medium, such as water, can produce shock waves (and resulting microjets) which provide thousands of pounds of pressure within a very small space, to carry out reactions.

Synthesis of TiO2 Nanoparticles In A Spinning Disc Reactor

Technology Review of Spinning Disc Reacor | Blog | Industry Series | July 2017



Review: Mohammadi, S., Harvey, A., & Boodhoo, K. V. (2014). Synthesis of TiO 2 nanoparticles in a spinning disc reactor. Chemical Engineering Journal, 258, 171-184.

A spinning disc reactor (SDR) is a reactor where reactants are injected onto the surface of a rotating disc, which creates a centrifugal force pushing the liquid out to the ends of the reactor where it exits at the bottom of the reactor.

The pros of such a reactor are that: the disc and walls can be temperature controlled, additional pipes can inject catalysts (particles in a slurry, or as a gas), pressure can be controlled, it is continuous flow, and that the disc creates a very interesting dynamic on the reaction, all allowing for a high level of process control and thus selectivity in the reaction.

It has been shown that SDR’s can be used to make quantum dots, or semiconductor nanoparticles. This paper summary of the precipitation synthesis of titanium oxide (TiO2) nanoparticles with an SDR will highlight some of the advantages to using an SDR for this purpose.


Nanoparticle TiO2 has many uses from being used as a pigment or catalyst, to being used in pharmaceutical products or surface coatings.

Traditionally it is made uses a sulphate or chloride process, both considered very toxic for the environment due to their waste products, but can be made through a synthetic route with adequate process control.

SDRs have been focused on recently due to their quote ability to provide a uniform and rapid micromixing environment when two liquid streams are contacted on the rotating surface unquote.

Micromixing relates to when two liquids are contacted on the disc and the extreme centrifugal force creates a thin-film region of intense heat and mass transfer.

In nanoparticle precipitation processes, micromixing is incredibly important because it allows for control of the supersaturation of the medium, a key parameter in the nucleation process.

Micromixing also gives control of the molecular diffusion which is a key parameter in the growth process of the crystals. SDRs also create near ideal plug flow conditions which helps produce quote much more well defined crystals unquote.

Finally, the operating costs of an SDR are usually much less than the operating costs of similarly continuously mixed reactors.

The production of these TiO2 nanoparticles follow two simultaneous reactions, first the hydrolysis of titanium tetra isopropoxide (TTIP) with acidic water and then the polycondensation of the resulting titanium tetrahydroxide using nitric acid as a catalyst.

Four different factors were considered in this experiment, the rotational speed of the disc, the total flow rate, the grooved nature of the disc, and the ratio of water to precursor.

First, the rotational speed of the disc from 400rpm to 1200rpm produce vast differences in both particle size, where 400rpms producing an average particle size of ~16nm while 1200rpms created an average size of ~4.8nm, and particle size distribution, where 400rpms produced a range of particle sizes of 18nm and 1200rpms produced a range of particle sizes of 3nm.

This result was found to be due to the micromixing effect causing a high uniform distribution of supersaturation in the higher rpms.

Second, at higher flow rates smaller sized particles and more uniform sizing distribution

were found due to a similar effect to the higher rotational speed, where a higher flow rate causes more surface ripples, meaning better mixing of the precursors and thus a favoring of nucleation vs crystal growth.

Third, this effect was again seen with the grooved disc preforming vastly better than the smooth disc in producing smaller and more uniformly sized particles.

Finally, a higher ratio of water to the precursor TTIP produced more uniform, smaller, and spherical in nature particles compared to less uniform, larger, and irregular particles with lower ratios.


This effect is due to the nucleation reaction being increased with higher water concentrations due to its large role in the hydrolysis reaction.

Comparing the SDR to more traditionally stirred reactors, the power consumption per particle was lower, the particle size was lower, and the particle size distribution was tighter in the SDR.

In conclusion, a SDR has many advantages over conventionally stirred reactors in the production of TiO2 nanoparticles and these advantages could possibly be applied to the production of other quantum dot particles.


Authors: Mohammadi, S., Harvey, A., & Boodhoo, K. V. (2014).

Title: Synthesis of TiO 2 nanoparticles in a spinning disc reactor.

Publication: Chemical Engineering Journal, 258, 171-184.

Infinity Supercritical Introduces New Ultra-Efficient Organic Method of Botanical Oil Extraction

Press Release PDF

SEATTLE, June 20, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Infinity Supercritical LLC, a leading manufacturer of botanical extraction equipment, announces the industry’s first organic method of oil extraction using distilled water as the solvent.

The new method involves a spinning disc reactor system which is being introduced into the industry for the extraction of oil from cannabis and hemp. The oil extract, called a concentrate, can be used in vape pens, edibles, and further processed into CBDs for medical and health purposes.

The system is so efficient that the process takes a few seconds, instead of hours or days, which is common in the industry now. In addition, the system uses distilled water as the solvent, instead of commonly used CO2, ethanol, or butane.

With a continuous feed system, different botanicals or varieties can be processed on-the-fly. Legacy batch systems can only process one botanical or variety at a time.

The equipment is modular and can be scaled up to any size. As a continuous feed, continuous flow process, batch systems are now obsolete. The smaller footprint results in lower initial acquisition, maintenance, and operational costs. The added benefit of a smaller continuous feed system is more efficient use of energy.

This process technology can also be used in other industrial applications, such as the production of biodiesel, nutraceuticals, and algae oil extraction. In the high-tech sector, the process can produce quantum dots, which have been identified as a future solar cell technology. With a spinning disc reactor, (SDR) perovskites can be commercially manufactured, with a low cost, continuous feed, production format, which can then be used for continuous, printable, flexible, thin film solar cells.

Infinity Supercritical LLC develops and markets innovative botanical oil extraction systems. Emphasis is placed on developing new technology to reduce extraction time, and producing a superior oil product, maximizing extracted antioxidants, terpenes, and nutrients. Industries served include cannabis, hemp, and hops. Please visit http://www.infinitysupercritical.com for more information.