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.

Les réactions chimiques sont traditionnellement effectuées en ballons.  Une approche alternative basée sur la réaction chimique en flux dans des réacteurs tubulaires s’est récemment développée, offrant de nouvelles possibilités pour la synthèse continue de molécules à haute valeur ajoutée. Les réactions réalisées en flux permettent un meilleur contrôle de paramètres tels que le mélange, la température et la pression.  Elles permettent également de manipuler des composés très réactifs de manière sûre et efficace, en réduisant considérablement les risques.  De plus, les procédés en flux continu peuvent offrir des avantages en termes d’intensification des processus, de suivi en ligne et de développement de réactions télescopées.

L’équipe LabFact possède un nombre important de projets en cours dans ce domaine, avec une expertise dans le traitement des flux pour les transformations thermiques, photo- et électrochimiques,…; différents équipements sont disponibles, aussi bien commerciaux que sur mesure. Nous disposons également d’imprimantes 3D pour la conception/fabrication à la demande de réacteurs microfluidiques

Associated Companies:


Members Involved: 

Key Publications:

  • A Thermally Induced Hydride Transfer from an Amine to an Allene Triggers an Annulation Reaction, Giving Dihydrofuropyridinones, Wei SunD.C. WilsonM.E. Light, D. C. Harrowven, Org. Lett.201820, 4346–4349.
  • 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.
  • Simple and Versatile Laboratory Scale CSTR for Multiphasic Continuous-Flow Chemistry and Long Residence Times. M.R. Chapman, M.H. Kwan, K.E. King G, Jolley, M. Hussai, S. Hussain, I.E. Salama, C. Gonzalez Nino, L.A. Thompson, M.E. Bayana, A.D. Clayton, N.N. Bao, N.J. Turner, N. Kapur, J.A. Blacker. Org. Proc. Res. Dev. 2017 Jul 20;21(9):1294-301. doi:10.1021/acs.oprd.7b00173
  • A general and atom-efficient continuous-flow approach to prepare amines, amides and imines via reactive N-chloramines K.E. Jolle, M.R. Chapman, A.J. Blacker. Beil. J. Org, Chem. 2018 Aug 24;14(1):2220-8. doi:10.3762/bjoc.14.196
  • Highly Productive Oxidative Biocatalysis in Continuous‐Flow by Surpassing the Aqueous Equilibrium Solubility of Oxygen.  M,.R. Chapman, S.C. Cosgrove, N.J. Turner, N. Kapur, A.J. Blacker.  Angew. Chem. Int. Ed.. 2018 May 9.doi:10.1002/anie.201803675
  • 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.