In Flow Chemistry, two or more reagents are continuously pumped into a flow-reactor, where they mix and subsequently react under thermal control. Flow Chemistry has some major advantages. Mixing can be achieved within seconds and reaction temperature can raised above the solvent's boiling point, resulting in faster reactions. Flow Chemistry enables excellent reaction selectivity. The rapid diffusion mixing avoids the issues found in batch reactors. The high surface area to volume ratio (1000x greater than a batch reactor) enables almost instantaneous heating or cooling and therefore ultimate temperature control, resulting in cleaner products.
Flow chemistry allows only a small amount of hazardous intermediate to be formed at any instant. The high surface area also allows excellent control of exothermic reactions using Flow Chemistry, resulting in safer reactions. Flow Chemistry with automation enables the quick variation of reaction conditions on a µl-scale. Parameters such as reaction time, temperature, flow, pumped volumes and pressure can all be rapidly varied. One reaction can follow another, separated by solvent, each cleaning out the previous reaction enabling quick reaction optimization. Scale up issues are minimized due to maintaining excellent mixing and heat transfer. Higher flow rates and correspondingly larger reactors can be used to easily produce kilogram or tonne-scale quantities using Flow Chemistry.