Technology Revolution on a Small Scale: BOSCH Develops Challenging Ceramic Micro-Reactor in Additive Manufacturing with KIT and BASF

Bosch Advanced Ceramics produces sophisticated ceramic microreactor for high-temperature applications using the 3D printing process. The reactor was developed in a joint project with BASF and KIT.  3D-printed technical ceramics withstand high demands of chemical reactions. Together with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the chemical company BASF, Bosch Advanced Ceramics has developed a complex micro-reactor made of technical ceramics for high-temperature reactions and produced it using additive manufacturing. Microreactors, which are often used, to research the fundamentals of chemical-technical processes, have to withstand the harshest conditions. Only by combining the additive manufacturing method (3D printing) and the special material properties of the technical ceramics could the demanding technical requirements of the customer BASF ultimately be mapped. The use of additive manufacturing enables the design and construction of very small flow channels (0,5 mm channel width) for the chemical reactions inside the reactor. The dimensions of the microreactor are: component hight 107 cm, component diameter 16 mm, channel width 0,5 mm and bar dimensions 0,3 mm.

Additive Manufacturing enables the production of complex and at the same time precise components 

In principle, manufacturing by means of 3D printing involves higher costs than conventional techniques, such as injection molding, turning, milling or similar. Without additive manufacturing, a ceramic reactor with such elaborate internal structures could not be produced at a reasonable cost. Only 3D printing thus makes it possible to redesign components, since structures specially adapted to the process or to the necessary function can be realized with greater flexibility – true to the principle of process-specific apparatus engineering. For the KIT and BASF microreactor, this means in specific terms that the temperatures and material flows in the reactor can be controlled particularly precisely with this structure, thus opening up new possibilities for optimizing reactions. The competence of Bosch Advanced Ceramics in terms of mastering the manufacturing process and the know-how about necessary design adaptations, which ensure functionality and producibility, essentially contributed to a successful implementation.

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