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Continuous Flow Reactors

Continuous flow process

A flow process is a continuously operated process in which equipment with relative small internal dimensions is used to lead to high performance. It is used for processes that require full control for performance and/or safety. The small internals result in an efficient transfer of heat and enables intense mixing of liquids. This circumvents hot spots, concentration gradients and large hold ups. Due to the high controllability, reactions and separations can be intensified by applying higher temperatures and pressures and a reduction in the use of solvents in comparison to conventional processing.

Flowid developed the FlowFlex platform. This modular downscaled process is ideal for testing several flow chemistry reactors in the development phase. For precise dosing Flowid uses Bronkhorst Coriolis flow equipment.

The performance of a continuous flow process can easily be tuned by adjusting variables like temperature, pressure and flow rates. Controlling this sensitivity requires a very high accuracy and repeatability of the instruments, while functioning stable in time. Intensified flow processes are often utilized in cases that have safety issues and use aggressive chemicals.  Therefore, it is of high importance that the chemical resistance of the instruments is such that proper operation can be guaranteed over long periods of time.

Flow control in flow processes

Intensified flow processes require measurement and control of various fluids and gases. Due to the independency of liquid properties, mass flow measurement by means of the coriolis principle is preferred. Coriolis equipment can be coupled to gear pumps to control the mass flow by adjusting the pump speed. Other options for flow control are coriolis instruments combined with valves that will open or close depending on the set value. Similar hook ups are available for pressure control. The fine mechanical properties of the available valves enable very accurate control.

The instruments will normally use analog signals, as the majority of current control systems still use it. They are normally housed in a ATEX rated Zone 2 environment, and can also be subjected to large pressures. Coriolis instruments, like the mini CORI-FLOW, offer multi-fluid capabilities, with excellent accuracy. Of course, the option of using the EXIO pc board means that it possible to have an analog density output as well.

FlowFlex platform by Flowid

The FlowFlex is an automated modular continuous processing platform. The set-up is highly flexible in performing different kinds of flow chemistry based on different continuous technologies. All modules have the same dimensions and can be interconnected easily due to its power, data and process connections. Different continuous technologies like micro reactor and spinning discs applications for instance are supported.

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