Evaluation of SDR Spinning Disk Reactor Technology for the Manufacture of Pharmaceuticals

Evaluation of Spinning Disk Reactor Technology for the Manufacture of Pharmaceuticals



Evaluation of Spinning Disk Reactor Technology for the Manufacture of Pharmaceuticals


1) This article describes a set of experiments that were performed to investigate the viability of implementing a Spinning Disk Reactor (SDR) to speed the production of pharmaceutical constituents.

2) It has been suggested that the SDR offers distinct advantages over the traditional Stirred Tank method of processing technology which is quote – simply scaled-up versions of the beaker in which the process was originally devised – unquote.

3) One downside of the Stirred Tank methodology is that the surface-to-volume ratio decreases as the system is scaled up. This induces inefficiencies that are not present in the beaker-scale process these systems are designed around. The largescale vessels may inhibit the naturally fast reaction times inherent in the composition.

4) For SDR viable reactions, quote – fluid residence times…are in the range of 1-5s compared with a few hours in a stirred vessel – unquote, offering the potential for significant process time reduction.

5) The greater mixing intensity offered by the SDR also has the potential to improve reactant concentration profiles as well as yield better product particle size selectivity.

6) An SDR in its basic sense is a horizontal rotating disk. The reactants in a desired chemical reaction are poured into a small well in the center of the top side of the disk. Forces created by the spinning nature of the disk move the reactants outwards in a thin film towards the perimeter of the disk, inducing significant shear forces along the way. These shear forces are what is primarily responsible for the great mixing intensity offered by the SDR.

7) SDR architecture also allows for precise temperature control. The housing walls can be heated or cooled along with the disk. The disk has fluid channels machined in which direct heat transfer fluid from the periphery of the disk towards the center and back out the shaft.

8) This heat transfer fluid path creates a counter current flow with regard to the thin film of reactants offering highly efficient and selectable temperature environment.

9) The trial investigated 6 types of reactions: (1) phase-transfer Darzen’s process (2) crystallization study (3) Knoevenagel reaction (4) condensation process (5) elimination reaction (6) exothermic condensation.

10) Due to the short residence times of 1-5 seconds, reaction types (3)-(5) were found to be not viable using the SDR. These reaction types, quote – displayed low conversions in the range of 0 percent to 10 percent – unquote, due to their low intrinsic reaction speed.

11) Reaction type (6) was found to be non-viable due to product selectivity which was, quote – significantly lower than that in the batch process – unquote.

12) Reaction types (1) and (2) were used to further investigate the impact of disk rotational speed, disk texture, and process temperatures on overall process efficiency.

13) While attempting to test different process temperatures it was necessary to use a heat transfer fluid other than water to achieve sub zero C cooling. In this case, Therminol 59 and Dowcal 10 were tested as possible options.

14) Heat transfer fluid testing indicated that not only the fluid, but also the disk material itself (316 SS or Naval Brass) had a significant impact on the heat transfer capability of the system.

15) This article concludes that SDR technology is viable and advantageous for certain chemical reaction processes.

16) Reactions quote – with species half-lives up to 5s, can be performed much more effectively in an SDR than in a stirred vessel – unquote, with up to a 99.9% reduction in process time.

17) It was also observed that higher rotational speeds generated better mixing and shorter residence times.

18) The authors calculate that the 15cm SDR, bench-top scale, that was constructed and used for their trails had the throughput capacity to generate quote – 8 ton of product per year – unquote.

19) While not a universal fit, this trial strongly supports the further development of SDR processes in the production of pharmaceuticals and chemical in manufacturing.

Publication: Paul Oxley, Clemens Brechtelsbauer, Francois Ricard, Norman Lewis, and Colin Ramshaw,“Evaluation of Spinning Disk Reactor Technology for the Manufacture of Pharmaceuticals.” Ind. Eng. Chem. Res. 2000, 39, 2175-2182

Review by: SP

Spinning Disc Reactor – A novel processing machine for the food and chemical industry

Spinning Disc Reactor – A novel processing machine for the food and chemical industry



Spinning Disc Reactor – A novel processing machine for the food and chemical industry

1) An SDR is, quote – basically, a rotating disc, that can be heated or cooled, and is fed with one or more liquids at its center- unquote. What makes it attractive to food processing is its ability to efficiently mix materials, transfer heat, and transfer mass.

2) According to the presenter, SDR’s have the ability to, quote – very rapidly heat and cool fluids – unquote.

3) They are also able to perform pasteurization, fine crystal formation, and are easy to clean.

4) Additionally, their, quote – unique combination of shear and draw gives opportunities for structure manipulation – unquote.

5) The technology is also scalable, allows for catalyst introduction, and residence times are controllable.

6) Water was successfully removed from oil by heating the disc, cooling the walls, and allowing gas flow through the chamber.

7) The oil and water mixture had 1,000 ppm water to start and only 25 ppm water after SDR processing.

8) Leeds University tested four following food processes using the SDR: Mayonnaise production, Emulsification, Ice Cream production, and Fruit Juice pasteurization.

9) Mixing the ingredients for mayonnaise then passing them through an SDR at temperatures up to 58C produces a, quote – smooth and homogeneous mayonnaise – unquote, devoid of salmonella.

10) Further analysis indicated that the, quote – SDR mayonnaise was more consistent, smoother and softer than Hellmann’s real mayonnaise – unquote.

11) The SDR was also used to produce a water-in-oil-in-water multiple emulsion.

12) In the production of ice cream, an SDR can be used to homogenize and pasteurize the ingredient

mixture. Additionally, much of the ageing time required in standard production can be avoided.

13) As a test, E. coli K-12 was introduced to a sample of ice cream base which was then processed using an SDR at 90C. Results, quote – indicated that sufficient heat was applied to achieve a reduction in microbial loading associated with a safe product – unquote.

14) The SDR produced ice cream was then analyzed qualitatively by a panel of taste testers. In the categories of smoothness, stickiness, meltability, and coldness, the SDR ice cream performed as well or better in most areas.

15) Processing fruit juice with an SDR at 90C showed effective pasteurization.

16) SDR pasteurized fruit juice was then qualitatively judged by a panel of tasters who deemed it, quote – preferable to the commercial sample – unquote.

17) This presentation concludes that the use of an SDR as a food processer has the ability to improve the efficiency of may current processes as well as offer the ability to introduce new products.

Publication: “Spinning Disc Reactors: A novel processing machine for the food and chemical industry.” PDF. 2010.

Review by: SP

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.



Infinity Supercritical Introduces Industry First: Organic Botanical Oil Extraction


Infinity is pleased to announce and industry first – organic oil extraction which does not use Butane or CO2. Using a food industry proven method called SDR (Spinning Disc Reactor), botanical oil can now be extracted at room pressure and temperature.

The benefits of a SDR system developed by Infinity Supercritical LLC (patented) are:

• Standard Room Temperature and Pressure Extraction

• Fast Reaction Time (measured in seconds)

• Continuous Feed Operation

• Uses Standard Distilled Water

• Organic Extraction (no additives to remove later)

• Industrial Volume Extraction (5-100+ lbs of input material per hour)

• Modular Compact System (can be built into a trailer or standard shipping container)

• Push Button Operation (no complex PLC or operator technique required – it just works)

The SDR can also be used in other industries, including the production of semi-conductor nanocrystals called Quantum Dots (QD).

This new systems provides a quantum leap forward in options available to botanical extraction production, by simplifying extraction technique (push a button) and monitor the continuous feed and flow. If Apple were to design a botanicals extraction system, this would be it.




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.



Infinity Electrostatics Announces New Technology for Producing Graphene

PALO ALTO, Calif., Dec. 21, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Infinity Electrostatics LLC, a technology development firm for additive 3D printing, is pleased to announce a new method of production for graphene.

Graphene is the new environmentally friendly, transparent, go-to material that has incredible opportunities for super capacitors, solar cells, semi-conductors, is impervious to water, temperature changes, and can self-repair its bonds. It is 1000 times more conductive than Copper, 200 times stronger than steel, and doesn’t have the limitations of Silicon.


Graphene can be used in bioengineering, optics, composites, energy storage, photovoltaics, and even as ultrafiltration, as a thin membrane for seawater desalination. It can be laser printed. Using quantum dots, band gaps can be generated to utilize in the semiconductor industry.

The limitation of graphene development and use in industry, is its production. Infinity has developed a method, using a Spinning Disc Reactor, to provide a low cost method of producing graphene, using sonification and shearing.


Infinity Electrostatics LLC develops and markets innovative additive 3D printing technology. Emphasis is placed on developing new technology to reduce additive build time, and producing a superior 3D printed product, maximizing efficiency of powder distribution, and reducing additive layer binding time. Industries served include laser engraver and fiber cutting machine manufacturers, additive 3D metal printing, and electrostatics. Please visit http://www.infinityelectrostatics.com for more information.


Graphene 01  |  02  |  03

Method of Improving Nutrient Delivery to Plant Roots via Hydrodynamic Cavitation

Publication PDF Review: 20170901-infinity-supercritical-sdr-hydropump

Delivering nutrients to plants in mechanized cultivation can be improved by utilizing methods that reduce the nutrient size, to better match plant root receptors (pores).

Making delivery of nutrients in an efficient way can reduce both water and nutrient costs.

Infinity Supercritical has been researching and developing new ways to make processing and delivering nutrients to plants more cost effective, while reducing demand for raw ingredients. This in turn, reduces infrastructure and maintenance.

While there are many ways to nourish plants in cultivation, one of the most effective and efficient, is aeroponics. A system called FogPonics was developed and improved by John Baker. The premise of the Fogponics system is to macerate nutrients by mechanical breakdown to around 1 micron which is made more efficiently delivered to plant root pores.

The nutrients and water are pumped over 1,000 psi and ejected through small nozzles, which turn the liquid stream into vapor, which resembles fog.

The system delivers nutrient-rich fog to plant roots at around 95 percent relative humidity.

While ultrasonics can be used to reduce the nutrient particle size in water, it also throws off the pH (more acidic).  Reference: http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a031182. pdf

In this case, we can compare acoustical (16 – 40 kHz) versus hydrodynamic cavitation.

Both will change the pH value, however the hydrodynamic cavitation is more effective, and efficient. Better yet, it’s highly tunable to your specific nutrient and water pH.

“The hydrodynamic cavitation is more energy e cient as compared to acoustic cavitation and an almost 13 times higher cavitational yield was obtained in case of hydrodynamic cavitation as compared to that in acoustic cavitation. ”

Reference: https://www.researchgate. net/publication/231377138_Hydrodynamic_C avitation_as_an_Advanced_Oxidation_Techn ique_for_the_Degradation_of_Acid_Red_88_ Dye

Even better, using hydrodynamically cavitated water increases root growth.

“… hydrodynamic cavitation has increased growth of root system of saplings of a pine ordinary and has raised their resistibility to pathogenic micro flora.”

Reference: http://www.hrpub. org/download/20131107/UJES4-14601241. pdf

The only downside of the FogPonics system, is the high pressure 1,000+ psi pump. High pressure pumps are loud, and prone to maintenance issues, and expensive.

The alternative is using a Spinning Disc Reactor (SDR) from Infinity Supercritical, which they have developed (patented) which provides mixing, maceration, and tunable (for pH level dynamics).

The SDR is a quiet alternative, which can provide a pressurized waterflow through any lower pressure nozzle to fog the water and nutrients, while providing the benefits of hydrodynamic cavitation.

As far as plant health goes, the ambient temperature doesn’t matter for the main plant

foliage above the surface. But compared to the root structure below, the desired temperature should be within 58-68 F in the root zone. The root pores (plant mouth), is around 3 to 5 micron. So if you can provide a nutrient delivery system at or below that range, you can more efficiently deliver food to the plants.

As long as the roots have a healthy environment (around 95 percent RH with nutrients) the foliage will thrive. This can be done with roots suspended, in the enclosed environment described above.

The goal is to provide a water and nutrient delivery system, combined with a low power, silent running pump.

Not only do you get the benefits of a integrated nutrient reduction (down to 1 micro) system, but also a pressurized system with hydrodynamic cavitation, where you can select the temperature, in one simple device.

It is suggested that the FogPonics system can reduce nutrient costs, water consumption, energy, and maintenance costs anywhere from 10-35 percent.

Spinning Disc Reactor Hydrodynamic Cavitation Mixing Pump
Testing Maceration of Nutrient Tablets in a Ultrasonic Bath
Sonification of Nutrient Tablets in Ultrasonic Bath
Resulting Sonification of Nutrient Tablets
Nutrient Tablets Used In Example of Sonification
Dissolving Nutrient Tablet in Sonification
Bamboo Seedling Using Nutrient Fog from Sonification

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.