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 well established and known technique for use at big scale when trying to manufacture huge quantities of given material. The term has been just recently coined for application on laboratory use. More often than not, micro-reactors are put into used.
In most instances, continuous reactors 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. As for the mixing methods, this can be through diffusion or static mixers. Continuous flow reactors are creating good control on reaction condition that includes mixing, heat transfer and time.
The residence time for reagents in reactor or the amount of time to which the reaction is being cooled or heated is being calculated from volume of reactor as well as flow rate through it. So to be able to achieve a longer residence time, the reagents are slowly pumped and at times, a bigger volume reactor is what used.
The production rates are going to vary from 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. In regards to aspirator reactor, a pump is used to propel one reagent that sucks in the reactant.
Smaller scale of micro-flow reactor or the micro reactors may just be perfect on process development experiments. But this doesn’t indicate that flow chemistry isn’t able to operate at bigger scale; synthetic productive benefits from mass transfer, mass transport and even improved thermal.
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. In addition to that, there is a plant setup in which there is a tool designed for it. This set up can be seen in non commercial or commercial setting.
It’s feasible as well to run experiments in flow chemistry using more complicated techniques like solid phase chemistries while solid phase reagents, scavengers or catalysts may be used in the solution and be pumped through glass columns.