Flow Chemistry: An innovative tool for chemical processing
Post author: Amy Garland. Last update: 02/11/2015 at 3:13 pm by Amy Garland.
Emergent global trends around the development of new approaches to sustainable chemical manufacturing are rapidly gaining momentum and are driven by the unacceptably high inefficiency with the present state-of-the-art large scale production of chemicals.
Transitioning from inefficient and waste intensive processes to acceptable, resource efficient alternatives requires a significant change in approach and available technologies. In this respect, the use of flow reactors and continuous flow processing technology has emerged as an alternative to traditional batch processing.
Flow reactors for continuous flow processing are typically tubular or microfluidic chip-based systems, with well defined lateral dimensions, in which chemical reactions take place in a continuous stream within in a well defined temporal and spatial environment.
Flow reactors offer many advantages over conventional batch reactors, including:
- Superior inherent safety – reduced reactor volumes; containment of hazardous substances
- Fast and efficient mixing
- Superior heat and mass transfer – control over exothermic reactions
- Access to greater “reaction conditions space”
- Safe processing of dangerous and unstable intermediates
- Reproducibility – better process control resulting in higher reaction yields and product purities
- Unlimited scalability – high reactor throughput by continuous processing; reactor scale-up by numbering-up of reactor units
- Reduced capital and maintenance costs i.e. low cost-of-entry
- Reduced energy usage and operating costs
- Integrated in-line analysis and automation.
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