Flow chemistry

Duncan L. Browne 1
  • 1 School of Chemistry, Cardiff University, Main Building, Park Place, Cardiff, CF10 3 AT, UK, E-mail: dlbrowne@cardiff.ac.uk
Duncan L. Browne
FerencDarvasGyörgyDormánVolkerHesselDe Gruyter, 2014Series: De Gruyter TextbookVol. 1 Fundamentalsxviii, 295 pp.Paperback: €59,95ISBN: 978-3-11-028915-2eBook: €900,00ISBN (EPUB): 978-3-11-038875-6ISBN (PDF): 978-3-11-028916-9Vol. 2 Applicationsxx, 330 pp.Paperback: €59,95ISBN: 978-3-11-036707-2eBook: €900,00ISBN (EPUB): 978-3-11-039260-9ISBN (PDF): 978-3-11-036750-8

Over the two volumes, the books Flow Chemistry: Fundamentals (Vol. 1) and Applications (Vol. 2) provide a broad overview and solid introduction to flow chemistry for chemistry graduates. The textbooks look to bridge the gap between chemistry and engineering and do a good job of comprehensively covering the topic in a logical manner.

Flow chemistry is not necessarily a new field of research but over recent years it has garnered interest from chemists as it permits more readily scaled reactions. Consequently, flow chemistry itself represents a way for chemists to work more closely with engineers without necessarily speaking the full language! This is important in ensuring that today’s discoveries in the research laboratory can reach society as a factory output tomorrow. There is significant interest in developing and further advancing the use of flow chemistry tools in the synthesis lab and this is true in both industrial and academic laboratories, these textbooks are the first of their kind and look to teach future researchers the important considerations.

Given the multidisciplinary nature of the topic, each researcher or practitioner of flow chemistry has his or her own unique way of explaining or perceiving flow chemistry. This consideration has been nicely captured by the editors in what is a rather unorthodox approach, whereby the textbooks are made up of a collection of chapters contributed from some of the worlds leading researchers in the area. At the end of each chapter there are some questions for students to practice as they learn, solutions are also provided in the back of the book.

The books start off by covering important physical chemistry considerations and providing the basic knowledge required to get in to the mindset of flow chemistry, such as mixing considerations, flow regimes and reaction rates. The first volume then moves on to cover some important concepts with a particularly nice chapter that provides an overview of the devices or equipment, contributed by Glasnov and Fekete. This chapter is key to familiarizing chemists with the different components and equipment necessarily for running reactions in a flow chemistry format. The book then moves in to discussing the theory of converting a batch reaction in to a flow process and then finishes with two sections on laboratory teaching practice where reported literature reactions are outlined along with excerpts from experimental procedures.

The second book attempts to bring the reader up to the current state-of-play in the field. This volume is split into three sections focusing on i) catalysis and activation, ii) preparation of functional materials and iii) inline analysis and safety features of the devices. Across these chapters the authors cover a healthy cross-section of the important topics, such as heterogeneous catalysis including progress in the immobilization of asymmetric ligands, self-optimizing systems and the continuous synthesis of C-11 radiotracer compounds.

In conclusion, the books present flow chemistry in a logical and digestible format and would certainly make a good accompaniment to any undergraduate or post graduate lecture course on the subject. In addition to serving as a textbook I have no doubt that these introductory texts provide a good overview for any researchers wishing to become involved with work in this multidisciplinary area, be they a chemist or engineer.

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