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Flow Chemistry

Flow Chemistry

At IMI we got the infrastructure for carrying out special processes in a continuous reactor. In some cases, when there are unique reactions - extreme heat release or a high selectivity batch, operation suffers from extremal conditions. In such cases batch operation requires very low temperature, long operation times and concludes in low yield. For such reactions we have special equipment.

Flow reactor (or Micro-reactor): The micro-reactor enables continuous flow reactions by employing microfabrication modules (mixer, heat exchanger, etc.) with typical lateral dimensions below 1 mm. It is used for processes such as mixing, reaction, and extracting. Surface heating/cooling area to reactor volume ratio is high, close to 2000-2500. This attribute permits maintaining isothermal conditions necessary for highly exothermic reactions.

Micro-reactors are made by etching channels on a substrate such as metal, glass, or other type of ceramic. These channels are built using such techniques as lithographic (photolithography), electrical discharge machinery, or laser micromachining. The fluidic modules are made by sandwich structure of thin glass or ceramic plates with micro channels or fluid channels that have been etched into both sides. Each plate has two external layers for heat exchange fluid recirculation. This technology enables operating the reactor up to the pressure of 18 bars and temperature range between -60ºC and 200°C.  By superior mixing (in respect to flow velocity) performance in the micro-reactor enables high mass transfer between the reagents of chemical mixture with short residence time. Relatively small total volume of the micro-rector (near 90 ml) provides another safety advantage.