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  • Author or Editor: Dominique M. Roberge x
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Based on previous work studying complex microreactors, it was desired to further improve the mixing efficiency by varying the mixing unit design for fast liquid—liquid reactions. Different flow regimes were studied, including slug flow, parallel flow, and drop flow. The two-phase hydrolysis of 4-nitrophenyl acetate in sodium hydroxide solution was used to evaluate the overall volumetric mass transfer coefficients (K org a) as a function of the average rate of energy dissipation (ε) for each microreactor design and all flow regimes. The liquid—liquid systems investigated used n-butanol or toluene as the organic phase solvent and a 0.5-M NaOH aqueous solution. The use of surfactant was also investigated with the toluene—water system. All microreactor geometry designs were based on contraction—expansion repeating units with asymmetric obstacles to aid the breakup of slugs and desynchronize the recombination of split streams. The investigated designs were chosen to avoid the formation of the parallel flow regime, contrary to curvature-based mixing-unit designs. The microreactor design can then be optimized to reduce the ε required to reach drop flow, since K org a has been found to be constant at equal ε for a given solvent system in this flow regime, regardless of the reactor selection. Additionally, the “3/7th” scaleup rule was applied and confirmed with the LL-Triangle mixer. It was found that, for low interfacial-tension systems (i.e., n-butanol—water), the onset of drop flow occurred at a lower ε for the LL-Triangle mixer when compared with the Sickle or LL-Rhombus mixers.

Open access
Journal of Flow Chemistry
Authors: Bernhard Gutmann, David Obermayer, Jean-Paul Roduit, Dominique M. Roberge and C. Oliver Kappe


Hydrazoic acid (HN3) was used in a safe and reliable way for the synthesis of 5-substitued-1H-tetrazoles and for the preparation of N-(2-azidoethyl)acylamides in a continuous flow format. Hydrazoic acid was generated in situ either from an aqueous feed of sodium azide upon mixing with acetic acid, or from neat trimethylsilyl azide upon mixing with methanol. For both processes, subsequent reaction of the in situ generated hydrazoic acid with either organic nitriles (tetrazole formation) or 2-oxazolines (ring opening to β-azido-carboxamides) was performed in a coil reactor in an elevated temperature/pressure regime. Despite the explosive properties of HN3, the reactions could be performed safely at very high temperatures to yield the desired products in short reaction times and in excellent product yields. The scalability of both protocols was demonstrated for selected examples. Employing a commercially available benchtop flow reactor, productivities of 18.9 g/h of 5-phenyltetrazole and 23.0 g/h of N-(1-azido-2-methylpropan- 2-yl)acetamide were achieved.

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