Flow Chemistry Services

Flow Chemistry Services

Flow Chemistry Reactor Technology is part of Dalton’s extensive arsenal of capabilities in the area of custom synthesis and process development. The many benefits of this exciting new technology include increased scalability, flexibility, and process control.

Flow Chemistry is the manufacture of compounds using a continuous process with automated pumps and specialized reactors. The reactants flow as solutions in these reactors, and mixing is completed in a fraction of a second rather than the much longer time frames associated with conventional batch processes. The reaction is finished when the solutions exit. Only a fraction of the total material used in API and custom synthesis reacts at any moment, and consequently reactor volume is minimized.

The high surface area to volume ratio in a small flow reactor allows for nearly instantaneous control over reaction temperatures, giving potentially cleaner products and increased reaction safety. Scale-up issues are minimized through the more consistent control of mixing and heat transfer throughout the reaction at any scale, even up to a tonne. Flow Chemistry also facilitates a faster change-over between the different custom synthesis projects.

Flow chemistry is chosen as an alternative approach to batch synthesis when it is likely to deliver better yields, faster reactions, or safer operations. It is also selected to access novel or exotic synthesis routes which would be impossible or impractical using batch technology.

Examples of Custom Synthesis in which Flow Chemistry might be the best option are:

  • Reactions needing fast mixing for good selectivity
  • Very exothermic or endothermic reactions
  • Reactions requiring high pressures or temperatures
  • Reactions with gas release
  • Scale-up of micro-wave chemistry
  • Reactions with reactants/catalysts in an immiscible phase (liquid-liquid or gas-liquid)

Initial investigation and proof of concept of Custom Synthesis at Dalton is usually done on the milligram scale using a Chemtrix micro-reactor. A full experimental program, using very little material, to determine kinetics of the reaction and the effects of various operating conditions can usually be done in 1-3 days. When output of more than just a few milligrams of product is desired, the process is scaled-up using in-house flow reactors. Because of the nature of Flow Chemistry, there is minimal troubleshooting. Overall, Flow Chemistry allows Dalton to provide all of its clients with a more cost-effective, efficient and safer approach for API process development and custom synthesis.