Instead of batch production, flow chemistry is a type of chemical reaction that is basically running in continuous flow stream. 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. 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. On the other hand, the term has been coined just recently for the application on laboratory scale. More often than not, micro-reactors are put into 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.
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.
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. When talking about aspirator reactor, pumps are used in propelling one reagent that will then suck 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.
From serious to parallel approach, process development is going to change. When it comes to batch, the chemist will first work on it which will then 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 particular set up may be used either for 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.