In this publication, several stainless steel microstructure reactors specially designed to obtain rapid and periodic temperature changes are presented. Different microstructure reactor designs have been manufactured and tested for their thermal behaviour and equally by running a test reaction under stationary and non-stationary temperature conditions. The devices were continuously electrically heated and periodically cooled by a deionized water flow. The objective of the experimental measurements was to demonstrate that non-stationary temperature conditions may lead to an increase in the reaction rate compared to the stationary conditions. The heterogeneously catalysed oxidation of CO was chosen as the test reaction. The catalyst used was a dispersion of platinum on a porous alumina support generated by sol–gel technology. The experiments realized under non-stationary temperature conditions with a temperature oscillation amplitude of 41K and a period duration of 21 s show an increase in the mean CO2 concentration of a factor 1.72 compared to the mean concentration under quasi-stationary temperature conditions. The simulations of a simple monomolecular reaction under non-stationary temperature conditions indicate that the presence of a transitional surface coverage generated by the temperature oscillations may be a possible explanation for the observed phenomenon.