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Formation, functionalisation and formulation via continuous hydrothermal synthesis

Ed Lester 1Helen Hobbs 1Sandy Gordon 

1. University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom


 At present there are few commercially viable methods for producing sufficient quantities of high quality dispersed and formulated nanoparticles to supply the mass market demands of applied nanotechnology.

Continuous hydrothermal synthesis (cHS) sidesteps some of the problems associated with nanomaterial manufacture; it is a relatively simple route that is inherently scalable as it is a continuous process, not batch, and a chemically much more benign method of producing high quality nanoparticles. cHS produces nanoparticulate materials by mixing sub-, near or supercritical water with a solution of a metal salt. The drawback for the technology has been in controlling the mixing of the two fluids.

The authors have developed and patented a nozzle reactor (reactor d) which uses a pipe in pipe counter current mixing arrangement. This reactor does not block and has been used to make over 35 different nanomaterials from nano silver (at 12nm), zirconia (4nm) to YAG:Eu (50nm), Fe2O3 (4nm). Control over particle shape, morphology and phase has also been demonstrated e.g rods, spheres, plates for different materials. Recent work has been focussed on the addition of capping agents during particle production and the scaling up of the reactor with a view to producing tons/per annum. A scale up reactor, capable of producing kg’s/day quantities has been commissioned which uses the same reactor design.

Promethean Particles is a new spin out company from The University of Nottingham, and is using the IP developed in nanomanufacturing at Nottingham to service the needs of customers interested in controlled, formulated nanomaterials for products and applications, both industrial and academic.


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Related papers

Presentation: Oral at E-MRS Fall Meeting 2008, Symposium D, by Ed Lester
See On-line Journal of E-MRS Fall Meeting 2008

Submitted: 2008-05-15 09:43
Revised:   2009-06-07 00:48