The present invention pertains generally to immobilizing particulate matter contained in a "packed" bed reactor so as to prevent powder migration, compaction, coalescence, or the like. More specifically, this invention relates to a technique for immobilizing particulate materials using a microporous foam-like polymer such that a) the particulate retains its essential chemical nature, b) the local movement of the particulate particles is not unduly restricted, c) bulk powder migration and is prevented, d) physical and chemical access to the particulate is unchanged over time, and e) very high particulate densities are achieved. The immobilized bed of the present invention comprises a vessel for holding particulate matter, inlet and an outlet ports or fittings, a loosely packed bed of particulate material contained within the vessel, and a three dimensional porous matrix for surrounding and confining the particles thereby fixing the movement of individual particle to a limited local position. The established matrix is composed of a series of cells or chambers comprising walls surrounding void space, each wall forming the wall of an adjacent cell; each wall containing many holes penetrating through the wall yielding an overall porous structure and allowing useful levels of gas transport.
STATEMENT OF GOVERNMENT INTEREST
This invention was made with Government support under contract DE-AC04-94AL85000 awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to Sandia Corporation.
The Government has certain rights in this invention.