A Microcapillary Flow Disc Reactor for Organic Synthesis

    • Christian H. Hornung1
    • Malcolm R. Mackley2
    • Ian R. Baxendale1
    • Steven V. Ley1
    • 1Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge
    • 2Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Cambridge

    This paper reports proof of concept, development, and trials for a novel plastic microcapillary flow disc (MFD) reactor. The MFD was constructed from a flexible, plastic microcapillary film (MCF), comprising parallel capillary channels with diameters in the range of 80−250 μm. MCFs were wound into spirals and heat treated to form solid discs, which were then capable of carrying out continuous flow reactions at elevated temperatures and pressures and with a controlled residence time. Three reaction schemes were conducted in the system, namely the synthesis of oxazoles, the formation of an allyl-ether, and a Diels−Alder reaction. Reaction scales of up to four kilograms per day could be achieved. The potential benefits of the MFD technology are compared against those of other reactor geometries including both conventional lab-scale and other microscale devices.

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