In relation to flow chemistry, this is basically a chemical reaction running in continuous flow stream instead of a batch production. For you to understand things a lot easier, the pumps move the fluid in the tube and by the time that the tubes are connected, the fluid forms into one. If the fluids are reactive for instance, there is going to be a spike in reaction.
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. Well most of the time, what is used is micro reactors.
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. The mixing methods may include diffusion as well as 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. For this reason, in an effort to attain longer residence time, the reagents may be pumped slowly and /or bigger volume reactor is put into used.
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. When talking about aspirator reactor, pumps are used in propelling one reagent that will then suck the reactant.
Smaller scale of the micro-flow reactors or micro reactors could be perfect for 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.
Process development changes from using 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. In flow chemistry, this changes to parallel approach where chemist and the chemical engineer is working interactively. Typically, there’s plant setup in lab wherein there’s a tool intended for both. This set up can be seen in non commercial or commercial setting.
It is possible to run experiments in flow chemistry by using complex techniques such as solid phase chemistries while solid phase reagents, scavengers or catalysts could be used in solution and then, pump it through glass columns.