The Key Elements of Great Science
Instead of batch production, flow chemistry is a type of chemical reaction that is basically running in continuous flow stream. To be able to make things a lot simpler, the pumps move the fluid in the tube and when the tube joins in each other, the fluids then make a connection. Expect to have a spike in reaction in the event that the fluids are reactive.
Flow chemistry is a known and proven technique to use for big scale projects especially when manufacturing big quantities of given material. However, it was just recently when the term is coined after the application on laboratory scale. Micro reactors are more often than not being used.
Continuous reactors are manufactured using non reactive material similar to glass, polymers and stainless steel and typically tube-like. When it comes to the method of mixing, it can be either of the two, static mixers or diffusion. With continuous flow reactors, this is able to make good control on reaction condition that includes the heat transfer, time and mixing.
Residence time of the reagents in reactor or simply the amount of time that the reaction needed to cool or heat is observed from the reactor’s volume and at the same time, by checking the flow rate through it. For this reason, in an effort to attain longer residence time, the reagents may be pumped slowly and /or bigger volume reactor is put into used.
When it comes to production rates, this can be liters per minute to nano-liters per minute.
Few examples of the flow reactors are spinning tube reactors, spinning disk reactors or otherwise called as Colin Ramshaw, oscillatory flow reactors, multi cell flow reactors, microreactors, aspirator reactors and hex reactors. When talking about aspirator reactor, pumps are used in propelling one reagent that will then suck the reactant.
When it comes to process development experiments, using smaller scale of micro flow reactors or micro reactors are just perfect. Although, it is possible to operate flow chemistry at bigger scale, synthetic efficiency benefits from mass transfer as well as improved thermal and also, mass transport.
From serious to parallel approach, process development is going to change. Now when talking about batch, the chemist is going to work first and then, they’ll be followed by a chemical engineer. In flow chemistry, this changes to parallel approach where chemist and the chemical engineer is working interactively. Typically, there’s plant setup in lab wherein there’s a tool intended for both. This particular set up may be used either for non commercial or commercial setting.
It is possible to run experiments in flow chemistry by using complex techniques such as solid phase chemistries while solid phase reagents, scavengers or catalysts could be used in solution and then, pump it through glass columns.