Corning Advanced Flow reactor

Corning's Advanced-Flow™ reactors represent one of the possible solutions which open a way for broader employment of continuous-flow production across chemical industry segments. The key principle of the technology is based on use of a continuous-flow modular system, which consists of a set of various fluidic glass modules, where reaction layer and heat exchange layers are combined in a single block, thus allowing excellent control over the reaction temperature due to elimination of hot spots. The internal space of the reactor layer is arranged as a set of continuously connected micro-channels with millimeter-scale dimensions, which allows reaching optimal surface-to-volume ratio of the reactor, (fig. 1.) Due to the small channel dimensions, such reactors are often referred as "microreactors". For multiphase reaction systems efficient mixing often becomes very critical. Geometry of channels of the Corning® Advanced-Flow™ reactor is designed in a way which allows excellent mixing at various phases [6]. Channel walls are made from materials with good resistance to chemical corrosion and smooth surfaces that enable easy cleaning. Scaling up from laboratory scale to production scale still remains an issue for many chemical reactions employed in

Figure 1: Construction and operation principle of a Corning® Advanced-FlowTM reactor fluidic module.

pharmaceuticals and fine products manufacturing. Corning® Advanced-FlowTM reactors deliver industrial scale capacity via both true scaling-out of the reactor volume and numbering-up principle.

Today, mass flow of a single Corning reactor on an annual basis varies between 7 and 1600 metric tons due to employment of various generations and scales of fluidic modules. Further capacity increases can be easily achieved by increase the number of reactors and their parallel use in production. Necessary to emphasize also a more general advanced feature of continuous flow processes such as an opportunity to engineer and optimize the equipment with respect to a particular reaction to be performed opposed to the traditional batch approach, when reaction is engineered in the most suitable way to fit available equipment.

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