In relation to flow chemistry, this is basically a chemical reaction running in continuous flow stream instead of a batch production. 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. If the fluids are reactive for instance, there is going to be a spike in reaction.
As a matter of fact, flow chemistry is a technique that’s well known and being used for big scale projects in manufacturing large quantities of the 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 also manufactured by using non reactive material such as glass, stainless steel and polymer and also, mostly tube-like. 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 for the reagent in the reactor or amount of time wherein the reaction is cooled or heated is checked from the volume of reactor and 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.
When it comes to production rates, this can be liters per minute to nano-liters per minute.
The spinning tube reactors, Colin Ramshaw, oscillatory flow reactors, multi cell flow reactors, aspirator reactors, microreactors and hex reactors are only some of the flow reactors being used. In regards to aspirator reactor, a pump is used to propel one reagent that sucks in the reactant.
When it comes to process development experiments, using smaller scale of micro flow reactors or micro reactors are just perfect. 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.
Processes development is changing from serial approach to parallel. Now when talking about batch, the chemist is going to work first and then, they’ll 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. Typically, there’s plant setup in lab wherein there’s a tool intended for both. Be it non commercial or commercial setting, this set up can be useful.
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.