Flow Chemistry

Chemical reactions have traditionally been performed in flasks or test tubes.  Increasingly, an alternative approach based on flowing chemical reaction through tubes and pipes until they are complete, has been gaining popularity.  This is due, in part, to the new opportunities it provides for the continuous manufacture of high-value chemicals on scale.  Reactions conducted under flow enable better control of parameters such as temperature and pressure.  They also allowing highly reactive species to be handled safely and effectively, greatly reducing hazards which in turn opens up new modes of reactivity.  Additionally, continuous flow processing can offer advantages for scalability; process intensification and the development of  daisy chain reactions by using the output of one reaction as the input for another.

The LabFact team has a number of active projects in this area, with expertise in flow processing for transformations triggered using heat, light, microwaves and electricity.  Various systems are available including commercial and bespoke instruments.  We also have 3D printer facilities available for the on-demand design/manufacture of miniaturised flow reactors.

Key Publications:

  • Oxidative neutralization of mustard-gas simulants in an on-board flow device with in-line NMR monitoring, Picard, B. Gouilleux, T. Lebleu, J. Maddaluno, I. Chataigner, M. Penhoat, F.-X. Felpin, P. Giraudeau, J. Legros, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2017, 56, 7568.
  • Exploring Diradical Chemistry: A Carbon-Centered Radical May Act as either an Anion or Electrophile through an Orbital Isomer, T. P. Goncalves, M. Mohamed, R. J. Whitby, H. F. Sneddon, D. C. Harrowven, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2015, 54, 4531-4534
  • Selective monoalkylation of amines with light electrophiles using a flow microreactor system,Lebleu, J. Maddaluno, J. Legros, Org. Chem. Front. 2015, 2, 324.
  • Flow Electrolysis Cells for the Synthetic Organic Chemistry Laboratory, D. Pletcher, R. A. Green, R. C. D. Brown, Chem. Rev., 2018, 118, 4573–4591
  • An Efficient Flow-Photochemical Synthesis of 5H-Furanones Leads to an Understanding of Torquoselectivity in Cyclobutenone Rearrangements, D. C. Harrowven,  M. Mohamed, T. P. Goncalves, R. J. Whitby, D. Bolien, H. F. Sneddon, Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2012, 51, 4405–4408.
  • One-step synthesis of pyridines and dihydropyridines in a continuous flow microwave reactor, M. C. Bagley, V. Fusillo, R. L. Jenkins, M. C. Lubinu, C. Mason, Beilstein J. Org. Chem. 2013, 9, 1957-1968.
  • Continuous flow processing from microreactors to mesoscale: the Bohlmann-Rahtz cyclodehydration reaction, M. C. Bagley, V. Fusillo, R. L. Jenkins, M. C. Lubinu, C. Mason, Biomol. Chem. 2010, 8, 2245-2251.
  • A simple continuous flow microwave reactor, M. C. Bagley, R. L. Jenkins, M. C. Lubinu, C. Mason, R. Wood, Org. Chem. 2005, 70, 7003–7006.

Members Involved: