Spinning Disk Reactor Nano Production Intensification

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nanomaterials Article ZnO Nano-Particles Production Intensification by Means of a Spinning Disk Reactor Marco Stoller 1,* and Javier Miguel Ochando-Pulido 2 1 Department of Chemical Materials Environmental Engineering, Sapienza University of Rome, 00136 Rome, Italy Department of Chemical Engineering, Granada University, 18071 Granada, Spain; jmochandop@ugr.es 2 * Correspondence: marco.stoller@uniroma1.it Received: 9 May 2020; Accepted: 15 June 2020; Published: 5 July 2020 􏰁􏰂􏰃 􏰅􏰆􏰇 􏰈􏰉􏰊􏰋􏰌􏰂􏰍 Abstract: Zinc Oxide is widely used in many industrial sectors, ranging from photocatalysis, rubber, ceramic, medicine, and pigment, to food and cream additive. The global market is estimated to be USD 3600M yearly, with a global production of 10 Mt. In novel applications, size and shape may sensibly increase the efficiency and a new nano-ZnO market is taking the lead (USD 2000M yearly with a capacity of 1 Mt and an expected Compound Annual Growth Rate of 20%/year). The aim of this work was to investigate the possibility of producing zinc oxide nanoparticles by means of a spinning disk reactor (SDR). A lab-scale spinning disk reactor, previously used to produce other nanomaterials such as hydroxyapatite or titania, has been investigated with the aim of producing needle-shaped zinc oxide nanoparticles. At nanoscale and with this shape, the zinc oxide particles exhibit their greatest photoactivity and active area, both increasing the efficiency of photocatalysis and ultraviolet (UV) absorbance. Working at different operating conditions, such as at different disk rotational velocity, inlet distance from the disk center, initial concentration of Zn precursor and base solution, and inlet reagent solution flowrate, in certain conditions, a unimodal size distribution and an average dimension of approximately 56 nm was obtained. The spinning disk reactor permits a continuous production of nanoparticles with a capacity of 57 kg/d, adopting an initial Zn-precursor concentration of 0.5 M and a total inlet flowrate of 1 L/min. Product size appears to be controllable, and a lower average dimension (47 nm), adopting an initial Zn-precursor concentration of 0.02 M and a total inlet flow-rate of 0.1 L/min, can be obtained, scarifying productivity (0.23 kg/d). Ultimately, the spinning disk reactor qualifies as a process-intensified equipment for targeted zinc oxide nanoparticle production in shape in size. Keywords: process intensification; spinning disk reactor; nano zinc oxide 1. Introduction Nowadays, nanoparticle production has increased in a notable way due to its widespread number of applications in different sectors—such as electronic and energy storage [1–4], industrial catalysis [5,6], pharmaceutical and biomedical [3,7–9], food [10–12], civil and waste re-use [13–16], and the environment [13,17–23]. The production of nanoparticles requires particular operating conditions and equipment, in particular the achievement of micro-mixing conditions [24,25] to avoid rapid aggregation phenomena [26,27], or the use of complexing agents to reduce surface electrostatic attraction among nanoparticles, such as carboxy-methyl-cellulose, alginate, xanthan and other organic compounds [28,29]. Metallic and metal oxide nanoparticle synthesis has been widely studied, and many articles can be found in the literature [30]. Among metal oxide nanoparticles, ZnO attracted the interest of focused research due to its extraordinary electronic, optical, mechanical, magnetic and chemical properties, that are significantly different from those of the bulk counterpart: high chemical stability, Nanomaterials 2020, 10, 1321; doi:10.3390/nano10071321 www.mdpi.com/journal/nanomaterials

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