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Technical & Practical

December 1, 2009

Millichannel Reactors: A Practical Middle Ground for Production

Reactors with millimeter-scale dimensions provide mixing, heat transfer and other advantages over devices with larger dimensions, and increased robustness compared to microdevices. Here are tips to consider for using them

Martin Jönsson and Barry Johnson, Alfa Laval

The desire to move from batch to continuous processes for the production of high-value organic molecules has become more widespread in recent years as evidenced by the increasing number of related studies published in the literature. The benefits of continuous flow include increased product yield, increased utility and energy utilization, improved safety and greater automation. A quest to improve the overall production economics for smaller organic molecules and many inorganic chemicals forced this change on the bulk chemicals industry many decades ago. But strong interest has not yet translated into the widespread use of continuous processes for specialty chemicals, fine chemicals and pharmaceutical manufacturing. This article proposes that the use of small-scale reactions can provide the missing link that brings continuous operation within practical reach....

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