Chemical engineers at North Carolina State Univ. (NCSU) have developed a technique to make hydroformylation reactions safer and faster. Hydroformylation is a widespread industrial process used to make aldehydes, which are in turn used in a range of products, from paints to pharmaceuticals.
Previously, it took days to evaluate the optimal experimental conditions for hydroformylation reactions. Now, this process can be done in mere minutes, thanks to the new flow-chemistry technique. The development gives engineers the ability to rapidly conduct exploratory studies and determine the most effective experimental conditions for a hydroformylation reaction.
Flow chemistry has recently gained popularity because of its ability to facilitate reactions that are both quick and safe. The process involves performing chemical reactions within a tube or pipe. Reagents are pumped into the reactor together and are allowed to flow down the channel in a temperature-controlled environment.
Flow reactors are able to withstand high temperature and pressure conditions, specifically up to 400°C and 30 MPa, and they are characterized by high heat- and mass-transfer rates. The hydroformylation process is typically carried out at high pressures within a temperature range of 40–140°C, so flow...
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