Highly Reproducible Flow Chemistry Scale-up of Polymerisation Reactions
Apr 08 2021
Uniqsis reports researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Institute of Membrane Research are using a FlowLab Plus flow chemistry system with glass static mixer reactor blocks to synthesise well defined polymers.
Synthesising well defined polymers, with a narrow Molecular Weight distribution, has traditionally been achieved by using anionic polymerisation methodologies. However, precise control of Molecular Weight achieved in this way is accompanied by very high sensitivity to impurities, temperature changes and fast polymerisation rates, which leads to high demands on the process control along with challenging laboratory work. More recently radical polymerisation methods such as the Reversible Addition-Fragmentation chain Transfer (RAFT) polymerisation technique have been the focus of polymer research as alternative methods to synthesise well-defined polymers from a variety of monomers.
In a new paper, published by the Helmholtz Institute, a model-assisted approach to develop and optimise a flow chemistry reaction system for the RAFT polymerisation of MMA is presented. A reaction kinetics and a heat-transfer model were used together with in-line NMR spectroscopy to gain insight into the polymerisation process in order to develop strategies for the process optimisation. A screening method was used to investigate a broad range of different residence times in a single experiment. Adjustments were made to the composition of the reaction mixture, the temperature and the flow chemistry reactor setup.
Designed by chemists for chemists, FlowLab Plus™ is a versatile modular flow chemistry system built around the Uniqsis Binary Pump™ dual channel reagent delivery system. The system is configured to run both manual and automated flow chemistry reactions. The system may be configured with any combination of up to 4 individual reactor modules. A wide variety of configurations are possible.
To achieve highly reproducible flow chemistry scale-up the control of mixing and temperature is essential, particularly for polymerisation reactions. Precision machined from inert borosilicate glass to withstand a wide temperature range - Glass Static Mixer (GSM) chip reactor blocks from Uniqsis are proven to produce a highly efficient, turbulent mixed reagent stream.
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