What is a glass-lined reactor?

Published on November 23, 2023

What is a glass-lined reactor?

A glass-lined chemical reactor is a vessel in which physical or chemical transformations take place. The specific functions such as heating, vaporization, cooling, and slow mixing are provided by the particular structure and parameters of the container.

The reactor structure comprises components such as the boiler, top cover, shell, agitator, transfer device, and shaft sealing system, as well as other components. This chemical transformation device is capable of producing different temperature and pressure conditions required for a variety of chemical reactions. It is suitable for performing transformations using a variety of materials at elevated temperatures and pressures.

Among the variety of materials such as fluoroplastic, polypropylene, polyethylene, enameled, or stainless steel, glass reactors remain particularly in demand. However, the popularity of glass reactor units continues due to the unique properties of the borosilicate glass from which they are most often made. Key characteristics include:

  • chemical inertness to most chemicals, which eliminates reactions between glass and reactor contents;
  • ability to withstand extreme temperature fluctuations, allowing for heating and cooling reactions;
  • a lot of possible shapes, sizes, and designs of reaction vessels created from glass;
  • transparency, which allows observation of the processes inside the vessel;
  • high density and smoothness, facilitating the cleaning process and preventing the absorption of reagents and odors;
  • reliable durability, and ability to withstand pressure fluctuations, which expands the scope of application.

The laboratory glass reactor systems function on the same basis as their counterparts made of other materials:

  • A starting substance or analyzed sample is placed inside the reaction vessel;
  • the vessel is hermetically sealed with a lid, regularly with a stirrer attached. If necessary, additional equipment such as a thermometer can be inserted into special holes in the lid;
  • the system is activated.

In more sophisticated models, operating parameters such as stirring speed, heating temperature, cycle time, and others are set on the control panel.

Glass reactor systems used for a variety of purposes:

  • mixing, homogenization, and emulsification;
  • dilution;
  • synthesis of chemical compounds;
  • evaporation, extraction, and distillation processes;
  • cultivation of microorganisms;
  • investigation of properties of substances and their combinations.

However, for effective operation of laboratory installations of this type, it is necessary to ensure proper installation and timely maintenance

Installing of glass-lined reactor

Using the glass-lined reactor involves several important aspects, such as proper installation and assembly, and supervising the use of the thermostat and coolant. These reactors are designed for indoor operation only. When operating in humid conditions, special attention must be paid to the observance of safety standards in electrical engineering. Connection to the power supply is only permitted via an earthed socket.

Before beginning operations with the mixing head, check that it is in a vertical position, securely fastened, and that it rotates perfectly without tilting or oscillating.

An indispensable point is to control the difference between the temperature of the contents and the coolant, which is fed into the reactor coating or water bath. This value should not exceed 60 degrees Celsius to avoid heat stress and maintain the integrity of the reaction vessel.

Before opening the reactor vessel, it is recommended that the vacuum valve be opened first to equalize pressure.

Maintaining the glass laboratory reactor requires regular interventions.

  • Neutral detergents should be used to clean the external surfaces of all components. The use of solvents, oils, or abrasives is excluded.
  • The reaction vessel, funnel, lid, and other glass parts should be cleaned with a moderate pressure of the cleaning solution so as not to damage the glass.
  • All additional parts should be washed immediately after use and not left for future use.
  • If the finished product contains solid particles, the bottom valve stem should be cleaned after discharge to eliminate any interference with a reliable tight closure.
  • Before beginning work, inspect all components and hoses for continuity; chipping or cracks and bends in the hoses must be avoided.
  • Ensure that the bottom valve is securely closed before starting operations. It is advisable to place a protective tray under the bottom drain

Follow these suggestions to achieve the best results with your lab equipment.

Author: Chemist EU

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