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farrah sharp Grade: Upto college level

would you mind explaining me about the chemical industry "going micro" ? what is "going micro" actually?

7 years ago

Answers : (1)

879 Points

Dear farrah,

Plenty of drug makers today are thinking small. Real small. In the neverending pursuit of a better route to certain intermediates and active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and more streamlined operations, drug companies are turning to microreactor technology.

Microreactors are essentially small flow channels, or systems of channels, where reactions may occur. Myriad other microchannel devices exist to handle additional unit operations. The concept behind them is not new, but these devices are now cheaper and easier to come by, and many firms are jumping on the micro-bandwagon. They are looking to perform common pharmaceutical reactions—hydrogenations, oxidations, substitutions, even Wittig and Passerini reactions—in miniaturized continuous flow.

Microreactors have several distinct advantages. Due in large part to their high surface-to-volume ratios and small channel dimensions, they are highly efficient for mixing, mass transfer, and heat transfer. These factors can lead to greater selectivity and higher yields. It also makes them attractive for highly exothermic reactions or those involving hazardous materials that would normally generate large amounts of unwanted by-products.


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Sagar Singh

B.Tech IIT Delhi

7 years ago
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