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Glass microreactor solves corrosion problem

Post Time:Jul 09,2008Classify:Glass QuotationView:585

CPI tests confirm rugged design meets demands

A GLASS MICROREACTOR has been developed by Corning, the world’s largest producer of speciality glasses and ceramics. The reactor could solve the corrosion problems that plague many current reactors, says the UK’s Centre for Process Innovation (CPI), which recently tested the reactors.

“Micro-channel reactors have so far only been good in terms of concept,” Sophie Walton, CPI’s business manager in advanced processing, tells tce. “But in practice, under commercial conditions, they’ve not performed particularly well. Mainly because the metals gradually corrode as the chemicals run through them or because the materials have been too expensive in construction.”

The glass reactor, which Corning spent eight years developing, sidesteps the problem by using a material that is impervious to corrosion – glass. Moreover, CPI’s tests confirm that the reactor is sturdy enough to survive most reaction conditions, including high temperature and pressure, Walton says. “The micro reactor [we tested] takes 18 bars worth of pressure. You can perform some pretty nasty chemistry on the units as they don’t corrode, and trun with such a low inventory, and you can take them to -50 to +200 bar,” she explains.

Despite its unusual material, the glass microreactor behaves just like any other microreactor, ie it operates continuously, producing varying amounts of product as required, and in general requires less energy and produces less waste than batch processes. With the pharmaceuticals of the future to be tailored more closely to their consumers, CPI expects that production runs will become much smaller and pharmaceutical companies will need more flexible production processes.

CPI says that it is now providing Corning’s customers with proof of concept that the glass reactor is sturdy and suitable for everyday processes. “We’ve got our first customers booking this technology,” Walton says, including some of the world’s largest pharmaceuticals companies.“ 

Source: www.tcetoday.comAuthor: admin

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