It is difficult to define which reactions are suitable for microchannel reactors. The characteristics of each chemical reaction are different. Microchannel reactors come in a wide variety of types. However, it is generally believed that 20% to 30% of the existing synthesis reactions can be technically modified through microchannel reactors.
In addition, you can accept about 20-30% of technological processes that were considered hazardous in the past by using the microchannel reactor. Accordingly, there are currently close to 30%-50% of chemical processes that can be technologically enhanced using microchannel reactors.
What are Microchannel reactors?
A Microchannel reactor or Microfluidic reactor is a device in which chemical reactions take place in confinement with typical lateral dimensions below 1 mm. The most typical form of such confinement is microchannels.
Micro reactors, in their simplest form, consist of a network of micro-channels in the range of 10 7 um to 500 um etched in a solid substrate.
Usually, all chemical reactions are carried out in chemical reactors. When the procedure has been developed, the product will have to be developed on an industrial scale in much larger reactors. Occasionally, up to a few cubic meters are used, but only for certain types of reactions, especially those presenting a risk of explosion. This is not a straightforward thing. So these particular reactors are developed and presented as Microreactors.
Why are Microchannel reactors critical for chemical processing?
Continuous flow reactors have been widely used in industrial settings for chemical and biological processes. But in order to broaden the scope of applications for micro- and milli-fluidics, a solid handling solution has to be provided. In reality, solids can appear in chemistry in a variety of ways, including as catalysts, reagents, products, and byproducts. Ultrasonic energy can be used to avoid channel obstruction.
Microchannel process technology, a new area of chemical processing, is the foundation for microchannel reactors. By reducing heat and mass transport restrictions, it can achieve rapid reaction rates. By making the reactor systems smaller, this is what is obtained. The primary processing processes are carried out in parallel arrays of microchannels in microchannel reactors, with each channel typically having diameters of less than 0.2 inches.
When it comes to minimising the size and expense of chemical processing equipment, this modular design offers many benefits. Additionally, because of the modular design, maintenance and catalyst replacement can be carried out simply by changing individual modules rather than requiring prolonged system downtime.
Benefits of using Microchannel Reactors
- By adding more reactors rather than scaling up, the production capacity of microreactors can be significantly increased.
- Due to their safe operation, microreactors are also useful for high-temperature oxidation in explosive regimes.
- Microchannels also have less of an impact on the environment since they enable the on-site manufacturing of hazardous reactants, which eliminates transportation issues.
- In comparison to batch and tubular reactors, the microreactor has a very brief residence time, necessitating the use of more KOH to maximize reactant conversion.
- Due to their advantages of quick mixing, efficient heat transfer, and accurate residence time control, they can produce a product with a high yield and selectivity.
- The tiny dimensions of the channels in microreactors and micro heat exchangers give them highly distinctive qualities.