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. In case that the fluids are reactive, there will 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. However, it was just recently when the term is coined after 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. With continuous flow reactors, this is able to make good control on reaction condition that includes the heat transfer, time and mixing.
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.
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.
Process development changes from using serial approach to parallel. When it comes to batch, the chemist will first work on it which will then be followed by a chemical engineer. In the flow chemistry, this is changing to parallel approach where the chemist as well as the chemical engineer will interactively work on it. In addition to that, there is a plant setup in which there is a tool designed for it. 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.