Date of Thesis

5-8-2014

Thesis Type

Honors Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)

Degree Type

Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering

First Advisor

Erin Jablonski

Abstract

Conventional liquid liquid extraction (LLE) methods require large volumes of fluids to achieve the desired mass transfer of a solute, which is unsuitable for systems dealing with a low volume or high value product. An alternative to these methods is to scale down the process. Millifluidic devices share many of the benefits of microfluidic systems, including low fluid volumes, increased interfacial area-to-volume ratio, and predictability. A robust millifluidic device was created from acrylic, glass, and aluminum. The channel is lined with a hydrogel cured in the bottom half of the device channel. This hydrogel stabilizes co-current laminar flow of immiscible organic and aqueous phases. Mass transfer of the solute occurs across the interface of these contacting phases. Using a y-junction, an aqueous emulsion is created in an organic phase. The emulsion travels through a length of tubing and then enters the co-current laminar flow device, where the emulsion is broken and each phase can be collected separately. The inclusion of this emulsion formation and separation increases the contact area between the organic and aqueous phases, therefore increasing the area over which mass transfer can occur. Using this design, 95% extraction efficiency was obtained, where 100% is represented by equilibrium. By continuing to explore this LLE process, the process can be optimized and with better understanding may be more accurately modeled. This system has the potential to scale up to the industrial level and provide the efficient extraction required with low fluid volumes and a well-behaved system.

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