Temperature Regulating Bimetallic Valves for Plate Reactors

Physical Sciences : Chemical

Available for licensing


  • Michael Baldea, Ph.D. , Chemical Engineering
  • Richard Pattison , Chemical Engineering
  • Melissa Donahue , University of Texas at Austin
  • Akash Gupta , University of Texas at Austin

Background/unmet need

Microchannel reactors are smaller and far less expensive than conventional equipment of the same capacity found in most chemical plants. However, it is difficult to manage temperature in microchannel reactors due to the small dimensions of the flow channels. Current technologies aim to solve this problem through design changes that improve static temperature profiles; however, very few technologies are aimed at managing temperatures when the inlet conditions differ from the nominal design.

Invention Description

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin have used bimetallic strips that change shape in response to temperature, to act as valves that sense a temperature change and deflect to either increase or restrict the flow of gas in the microchannels to regulate temperature change. This design offers improved control of reactor temperatures, limits hotspot formation, and provides an inherent safety net, as no external controls are required to adjust the flowrate in the channels.


  • Safe due to self-regulation
  • Useful at many temperatures


  • Limits hot-spot formation
  • Controls reactor temperature

Market potential/applications

Micro-reactors; H2 gas production; catalytic fuel cells; microchannel reactors; syngas production

IP Status

  • 1 foreign patent application filed
  • 1 U.S. patent application filed