Development of a microreactor as a thermal source for microelectromechanical systems power generation

J. Vican, B. F. Gajdeczko, F. L. Dryer, D. L. Milius, I. A. Aksay, R. A. Yetter

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

215 Scopus citations


An alumina ceramic 12.5 × 12.5 × 5.0 mm microreactor was constructed using a modified stereolith-ography process. The design was based on a "Swiss roll" concept of double spiral-shaped channels to facilitate a high level of heat transfer between the reactants and combustion products and wall surface contact of the flow through the microreactor body. Self-sustained combustion of hydrogen and air mixtures was demonstrated over a wide range of fuel/air mixtures and flow rates for equivalence ratios from 0.2 to 1.0 and chemical energy inputs from 2 to 16 W. Depositing platinum on gamma alumina on the internal walls enabled catalytic ignition at or near room temperature and self-sustained operation at temperatures to 300 °C. Catalyst degradation was observed at higher operating temperatures and reignition capabilities were lost. However, sustained operation could be obtained at wall temperatures in excess of 300 °C, apparently stabilized by a combination of surface and gas-phase reaction phenomena. A global energy balance model was developed to analyze overall reactor performance characteristics. The reactor design and operating temperature range have potential applications as a heat source for thermoelectric and pyroelectric power generation at small scales compatible with microelectromechanical systems applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)909-916
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Combustion Institute
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002
Event30th International Symposium on Combustion - Chicago, IL, United States
Duration: Jul 25 2004Jul 30 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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