A soft tubular model reactor based on the bionics of a small intestine – starch hydrolysis

Renpan Deng, Cordelia Selomulya, Peng Wu, Meng Wai Woo, Xuee Wu, Xiao Dong Chen

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19 Citations (Scopus)


The traditional reactors in industry are usually made of rigid material. The vessel walls do not actively engage in the mixing and reactions. Here, the fabrication of a new soft tubular reactor by mimicking the structure and physiological processes of an animal or human small intestine is presented. The reactor is made of silicone rubber, with good toughness yet being flexible. A peristalsis process was introduced externally and the mixing viscous materials in the soft reactor are investigated. The extent of starch hydrolysis with -amylase under the peristaltic action has been studied. Experimental data showed that the peristaltic process was effective in mixing the viscous materials in the reactor and has enhanced the starch hydrolysis. The mixing effect can be regulated from the peristaltic frequency and the peristaltic amplitude. The degree of starch hydrolysis in the soft reactor has been measured and compared with a stirred tank reactor.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146–154
Number of pages9
JournalChemical Engineering Research and Design
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2016


  • Tubular reactor
  • Bionics
  • Small intestine
  • Mixing
  • Starch hydrolysis

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