Understanding the Basics of Flow Chemistry



When talking about flow chemistry, there are different terms that are being used for it such as microchemistry, plug flow or continuous flow chemistry which is the method of performing chemical reactions inside a pipe or a tube. The reactive components actually are pumped together through a mixing junction and flowed down through a pipe or tube that's temperature controlled.

A big advantage of flow chemistry would be its fast reactions, cleaner products, quick reaction optimization, easy scale-up, safer reactions and also the integration of separate process like the process intensification.

There are various benefits to which flow chemistry could actually give. It has faster reactions where the reactors are easily pressurized. This will allow reactions to be heated above its normal boiling point which then creates reaction rates which are thousand times faster. This kind of process is called as superheating.

Another thing is that flow reactors enable good reaction selectivity. Rapid diffusion mixing helps to avoid problems that are found in batch tubular reactor. High surface areas to volume rations enables an almost instantaneous heating or cooling which leads to an ultimate temperature control.

Flow chemistry also allows only a small amount of hazardous intermediate in forming any time in an instant. The high surface areas will also allow excellent control towards exotherms.

The flow chemistry also comes with an integrated synthesis, work-up and analysis. Reaction products exiting a flow reactor could be flowed to a flow aqueous work-up system or to a solid phase scavenger column. From there, they then could be analyzed in a line or a sample taken through the use of sampler and also a dilutor and injected to LCMS.

Flow chemistry also has rapid reaction optimization. The flow chemistry which has automation enables quick variation when it comes to reaction conditions on small scales. Parameters such as ration of reagents, temperature, reaction time, concentration and reagents themselves could all be varied rapidly. One single reaction could follow another and separated by solvent could clean out the previous reaction.

Flow chemistry have easy scale-up as well. Scale up problems are being minimized because of maintain an excellent mixing and heat transfer method. With high flow rates and larger reactors, it could be utilized in order to produce easily kilogram quantities.

the use of microreactor technology will be able to speed up the development and the up-scaling in a more efficient way. Microreactors are devices to which operates in a continuous flow which then allows strict control of the reaction parameters so it could control reactions that could be reactive, hazardous or are exothermic. To get significant amounts on this kind of product, microreactors are not being scaled up yet the internal volumes of its actual channels are increased through a smart mechanical design and its reactors are likewise numbered up. Read on from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plug_flow_reactor_model.