Ultrasonic Flow ReactorsDesign, Applications and Advantages

Ultrasonic reactors allow for a continuous inline treatment of liquids and slurries applying powerful ultrasound waves. Ultrasonic reactors are used for homogenisation, mixing, emulsification, dispersing, extraction, cell disintegration, pasteurization, degasification, dissolving and the intensification of chemical reactions such as synthesis or catalysis. Read more about ultrasonic reactor technology and how your process can benefit from sonication!

What are Flow Cells used for in Sonication Processes?

A flow cell, also known as a flow-through cell or flow reactor, is a device used in various scientific and engineering applications to enable continuous flow processes. Flow cells are commonly used in sonication processes, especially when high volumes are treated with power ultrasound. A ultrasonic flow cell or sonochemical reactor is a specialized chamber or cell designed to allow a liquid or slurries to flow through it while undergoing sonication.

Flow cells are commonly used in fields such as mixing and homogenization, chemistry, biology, electrochemistry, and biotechnology. They offer several advantages over batch processes, including more uniform sonication, enhanced control, improved reaction kinetics, efficient mass transfer, and the ability to integrate the sonication process efficiently in an inline production process.

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Industrial ultrasonic homogenizer with flow-cell reactor

The MultiSonoReactor MSR-4 is an industrial inline homogenization reactor industrial liquid homogenization with high throughputs.

Applications for Ultrasonic Flow Cells and Sonochemical Reactors

Hielscher ultrasonic reactors, can be useful for a wide range of chemical reactions that involve liquid-solid, liquid-liquid, or liquid-gas interfaces. Some examples of reactions that can be enhanced using ultrasonic reactors include:

  • Homogenization of emulsions: Ultrasonic reactors can help to break down and disperse particles in emulsions, leading to more stable and uniform products.
  • Crystallization: Ultrasonic irradiation can induce crystallization in solutions, leading to the formation of small and uniform crystals with high purity.
  • Degassing: Ultrasonic irradiation can be used to remove dissolved gases from liquids, which can improve the quality and stability of products.
  • Extraction: Ultrasonic reactors can increase the efficiency of extraction processes by promoting the diffusion of solutes across membranes or interfaces.
  • Polymerization: Ultrasonic irradiation can promote the initiation and propagation of polymerization reactions, leading to faster reaction rates and higher molecular weights.
  • Synthesis of nanoparticles: Ultrasonic reactors can be used to synthesize nanoparticles with controlled size, shape, and surface properties.
  • Sonocatalysis: Ultrasonic irradiation can enhance the catalytic activity of certain materials, leading to faster reaction rates and improved selectivity.


Ultrasonicator UIP6000hdT with ultrasonic flow cell reactor and sound enclosure cabinet for industrial high-throughput processes.

The industrial sonicator UIP6000hdT with ultrasonic flow cell reactor and sound enclosure cabinet.

This video shows an ultrasonic cavitation induced color change in liquid. The sonication treatment intensifies the oxidative redox reaction.

Cavitation Induced Color Change with the Sonicator UP400St

Vídeo en miniatura

Sophisticated Ultrasonic Reactor Design for Superior Process Results

When it comes to inline reactors for liquid processing, several important factors should be considered. Hielscher ultrasonic reactors are designed and manufactured These factors can vary depending on the specific application and requirements, but here are some relevant considerations:

  • Reactor Design: The design of a reactor itself is one of the most influential factors when it comes to successful ultrasonic inline processing. Factors such as size, geometry, sonotrode position, and material of construction must be considered to ensure compatibility with the liquid being sonicated, as well as the desired reaction conditions (e.g., ultrasound intensity, temperature, pressure).
  • Mixing and Agitation: Sonication provides highly efficient micro-mixing. For larger tank reactors, additional mixing and agitation might be beneficial in order to obtain good macro-mixing. A blade-mixer or impeller contributes to optimal mass transfer as all material gets moved into the ultrasonic cavitation zone. Therefore, Hielscher reactor design allow for the incorporation of macro-mixers, such as impellers or stirrers.
  • Residence Time: The residence time in the sonochemical reactor, which refers to the time the liquid spends inside the reactor, is a critical parameter: It it the time during which the material is exposed to the ultrasonic vibration, cavitation, and shear forces. It affects the extent of the reaction and the productivity of the process. Hielscher ultrasonic reactors are designed to easy and reliably control and adjust the desired residence time while maintaining a suitable flow rate.
  • Control de temperatura: For many materials and reactions, precise temperature control is essential. Therefore, Hielscher ultrasonic reactors are equiped with provisions for controlling and maintaining the desired temperature. This is achieved through various means, such as jacketing or external heating/cooling systems.
  • Pressure Control: Some reactions benefit from specific pressure conditions. In general, sonication effects are intensified under elevated pressures. The reactor should be capable of handling the desired pressure range safely and effectively. Of course, Hielscher offers pressure control mechanisms, such as relief valves or pressure regulators, for its ultrasonic reactors.
  • Safety Considerations: Simple operation and safety are of paramount importance in reactor design. In accordance to industrial standards and highest safety considerations, Hielscher ultrasonic reactors are designed and operated with appropriate safety features, such as pressure relief valves, pressure and temperature monitoring systems, automatic data recording, and inert gas purging capabilities if necessary.
  • Scale-up Potential: If the liquid processing needs are expected to increase in the future, it is important to consider the scale-up potential of the reactor. Hielscher ultrasonic reactors are designed for easy scalability to accommodate higher production volumes while maintaining process efficiency.
  • Maintenance and Cleanability: Hielscher sonochemical reactors are very robust and designed for ease of maintenance, inspection, and cleaning. Smooth internal surfaces, accessible and quickly removable connections, as well as good drainability and the clean-in-place (CIP) feature help minimize downtime and ensure proper hygiene.
  • Compatibility and Corrosion Resistance: Considering the compatibility of the reactor materials with the liquid being processed, Hielscher offers customized sonochemical reactors. Chemical compatibility is crucial to prevent corrosion, contamination, or undesired reactions.
  • Process Monitoring and Control: Incorporates pressure and temperature sensors, adjustable feeding and flow-through speed and related monitoring devices as well as automatic data protocolling of the ultrasonic process conditions provide real-time data on critical process parameters. This information enables highest process control, optimization, and standardization.
  • Integration with Process Equipment: Hielscher ultrasonic reactors can be easy and comfortably integrated into the overall liquid processing system. Compatibility and proper connections with upstream and downstream equipment, such as pumps, filters, heat exchangers, and product collection/storage units can be easily implemented and subsequently adapted to changes in the production line.
  • Hielscher UIP4000hdT inline ultrasonicator with flow cell for inline homogenization and mixing processes

    Industrial 4kW ultrasonic homogenizer UIP4000hdT with flow-through reactor for inline mixing and homogenization

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    Sonicators and Sonochemical Reactors for Inline Flow-Processes

    Hielscher Ultrasonics offer high-performance sonicators and ultrasonic reactors for liquid processing at any size.

    Design, Manufacturing and Consulting – Calidad Made in Germany

    Ultrasonic flow-through reactor fulfils industrial standards for high-volume processes, such as mixing, dispersing, homogenization, emulsification and chemical reactions.Hielscher sonicators and sonochemical reactors are well-known for their highest quality and design standards. Robustness and easy operation allow the smooth integration of our sonicators and ultrasonic flow cells into industrial facilities. Rough conditions and demanding environments are easily handled by Hielscher sonicators.

    Hielscher Ultrasonics es una empresa con certificación ISO y pone especial énfasis en los ultrasonidos de alto rendimiento con tecnología punta y facilidad de uso. Por supuesto, los ultrasonidos de Hielscher cumplen la normativa CE y los requisitos de UL, CSA y RoHs.
    En la siguiente tabla encontrará algunas indicaciones sobre la capacidad de procesamiento aproximada de nuestros sonicadores:

    Volumen del loteTasa de flujoDispositivos recomendados
    0,5 a 1,5 mLn.a.VialTweeter
    1 a 500 mL10 a 200 mL/min.UP100H
    10 a 2000 mL20 a 400 mL/min.UP200Ht, UP400St
    0,1 a 20 L0,2 a 4 L/minUIP2000hdT
    10 a 100 L2 a 10 L/minUIP4000hdT
    15 a 150LDe 3 a 15 l/minUIP6000hdT
    n.a.10 a 100 L/minUIP16000
    n.a.mayorGrupo de UIP16000

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    Please use the form below to request additional information about sonochemical reactors, applications and price. We will be glad to discuss your mixing process with you and to offer you an ultrasonic system meeting your requirements!

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    Los homogeneizadores ultrasónicos de alto cizallamiento se utilizan en procesos de laboratorio, de sobremesa, piloto e industriales.

    Hielscher Ultrasonics fabrica homogeneizadores ultrasónicos de alto rendimiento para aplicaciones de mezcla, dispersión, emulsificación y extracción a escala de laboratorio, piloto e industrial.

    Literatura / Referencias

    High performance ultrasonics! Hielscher's product range covers the full spectrum from the compact lab ultrasonicator over bench-top units to full-industrial ultrasonic systems.

    Hielscher Ultrasonics fabrica homogeneizadores ultrasónicos de alto rendimiento de laboratorio a tamaño industrial.

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