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Unique UV photo reactor

Green Chemical Futures approached our platform to design and build a unique high-power UV reactor. At the time, and still to this day, no equivalent unit was available commercially.

Research requirements and end user operational needs dictated how we were to develop the design parameters which also had to comply with strict Monash Occupational Health and Safety and ARPANSA UV Exposure guidelines.

To meet the parameters required we perform an extensive OHS analysis so that we knew from the get-go how the overall design we were tasked with would meet, and exceeded, all ARPANSA and  OHS guidelines.

In addition to complying with OHS requirements, the design had to meet Australian standards for electrical and mechanical safety requirements.

The design analysis and development of the reactor took a great deal of collaboration, we enlisted a principal researcher, their staff and postgraduate students, our Instrumentation and Technology Development Facility (ITDF) as well as the OHS division.

OHS involvement assisted with the safety analysis and OHS/ARPANSA guidelines for UV exposure.

The principal researcher and their postgraduate researchers developed the design brief.

ITDF produced the design, undertook the UV safety compliance, electrical and mechanical development and built cycles.

At the end of this successful collaboration we delivered a unique piece of research infrastructure: a UV Photo Reactor with higher output power compared to current commercial options and capabilities. We were also able to meet and exceed the initial briefs.

This collaborative project fulfilled a niche research need and since, ongoing design and development of an improved version has kept the team motivated and busy.

UV-reactor designed by Monash Workshop, quote by Ahmed Alshereiqi

The UV-reactor that we have designed together with the Instrumentation Facility has helped our group to do photochemical reactions in a short time and safer manner. The design of the reactor was to provide more UV- exposure to the sample under investigation by using 16 UV-lamps. Also, the quartz vessel which is the sample holder allowed us to scale up the reaction volume as it can accommodate around 150 ml of sample solution. Moreover, the design of the whole reactor assures that the sample being irradiated at room temperature for prolonged times. Finally, the safety measures and controls including the complete isolation of UV irradiation and interlock systems make the use of the reactor safe.

Some improvements that are to be incorporated into the new design;

  • The control panel and electrical wiring are to be isolated from the reaction chamber / sample holder.
  • The reaction chamber will incorporate an easier disconnect method when removing it from the cabinet when replacing lamps.

An option under investigated would be to fit a stirrer for the reactor so the sample could be stirred while being exposed to UV-light.