One of the most difficult parts in scale-up is choosing the right reactor to match the reaction chemistry under consideration. Typically at lab scale all reactions start roughly the same: in a chemist’s flask. However as the scale up to plant numerous configurations are available. Often batch to continuous conversion is attempted alongside in the same project. There are huge upsides for success and yet many projects fail or get severely delayed in this phase. Expensive budgets can be lost as well.
This phase of projects is where a lot of chemical engineering science applies, and yet selecting the perfect reactor configuration can be still an art. This is where working with a good vendor is imperative to fabricate the best possible reactor choice. For example, the figure shows several such configurations that can be a part of a successful reactor design strategy. Ask yourself: Have I explored all possible configuration? Would I know which configuration to select for my particular reaction? Sometimes a few more hours brainstorming on the best configuration can mean months of work saved later and hundreds of thousands of dollars and equivalent man hours.
Further articles in this blog series will try to help end-users make the correct decisions and go on the fastest route to successful scale up.
Some questions to ask yourself before you select a vendor for your reactor and scale-up needs:
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