Understanding Flow Chemistry

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.

In most instances, continuous stirred tank reactor are tube-like and at the same time, manufactured from polymers, stainless steel as well as glass because they're known to be non reactive material. The mixing methods may include diffusion as well as static mixers. The continuous flow reactors create good control on the reaction condition which include time, mixing and heat transfer.

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, the reagents are pumped slowly and/or it is using bigger volume reactor to be able to attain longer residence time.

The production rates on the other hand will not be constant and it varies from liters per minute to nano-liters per minute. Know more about flow chemistry in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemistry .

Some examples of the flow reactors include the spinning tube reactors, spinning disk reactors, oscillatory flow reactors, multi cell flow reactors, aspirator reactors and hex reactors. In regards to aspirator reactor, a pump is used to propel one reagent that sucks in the reactant.

Smaller scale of the micro-flow reactors or micro reactors could be perfect for process development experiments. 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.

Processes development is changing from serial approach to parallel. When it comes to batch, the chemist will first work on it which will then be followed by a chemical engineer. Now for flow chemistry, this changes to parallel approach to which both the chemical engineer and the chemist are working side by side. There is usually a plant setup in the lab to which the tool is meant for both. Be it non commercial or commercial setting, this set up can be useful.

It is also possible to make experiments in flow chemistry that utilizes more complex techniques similar to solid phase chemistries while solid phase reagents, scavengers or catalysts might be integrated in the solution and then, pump it on glass columns.