What is a glass reactor?
Published on November 23, 2023
What is a glass reactor?
Nowadays, glass reactor units remain beyond competition in terms of their popularity. Depending on the complexity of the tasks to be solved, they can vary in a variety of versions with or without different types of shells, intended for distillation or dispersing processes.
These devices are used for sample processing and studying the properties of substances in the laboratory, in the chemical and food industry, as well as in the cosmetics, pharmaceutical, and construction industries. A laboratory glass reactor is a specialized chemical device designed for controlled processes. The single-layer reactor design includes a reaction vessel devoid of an external heat-exchange shell.
It is worth highlighting a key feature of glass chemical reactors: they allow for a variety of operations, such as mixing, evaporation, as well as polymerization reactions, and others, to be carried out within the same apparatus. With their help, it becomes possible to:
- carry out homogenization of the substance,
- prepare emulsions, suspensions, creams, and similar products,
- to investigate the conditions of reactions;
- conduct experiments to synthesize new compounds and materials;
- obtain small quantities of high-purity substances;
- select optimal process parameters for scale-up.
These laboratory reactors glass are used in a wide range of applications such as chemical and food processing, petrochemical production, cosmetology, pharmaceuticals, and construction. The demand for such units covers not only laboratory conditions but also practical industries. They are used for experimentation, technology development, and the production of small batches of finished products.
Types of glass reactors
There are various types of glass reactors. Each type has peculiarities and differs in method and sphere of application. Let's consider the main classification of this type of equipment:
A single-layer glass reactor is a container for carrying out reactions, made in the form of a conventional vessel made of borosilicate glass of a certain geometry. A distinctive feature of this type of reactor is the absence of an outer layer or “Jacket”, unlike its double-layer counterpart.
The reaction vessel in this case is a spherical flask with 4–6 necks, which is placed in a heating bath. If it is necessary to cool the flask, the bath is filled with a heat carrier from a low-temperature thermostat.
A double-layer lab glass reactor is a glass vessel surrounded by an additional layer of glass called a Jacket. A cooling or heating fluid circulates between the walls of the vessel and the Jacket, providing controlled heat exchange. Heat is transferred to the reaction mixture through the walls of the main vessel.
The vessel in this reactor configuration is a glass vessel with a lid. Standard equipment for 1 to 10-liter dual glass reactors includes a stirrer with an electric motor, electronic control unit, liquid feed funnel, vacuum valve, refrigeration receiver, flexible hoses, and a set of fasteners.
Explosion-proof options are also available from some manufacturers.
Jacketed three-layer glass reactor. This equipment type has three layers, including an inner vessel, Jacket, and an outer layer. This type of reactor is used for applications requiring low temperatures or processes with controlled heating.
The most common applications for ternary reactors are to study the properties of substances at reduced temperatures, to grow organic crystals under controlled conditions, and to produce polyisobutylene and butyl rubber by cationic polymerization.
What is a glass reactor used for?
Manufacturers produce many models of reactors, there are both universal and specialized for specific tasks. Are many laboratories can find universal reactors and specialized designs precisely adapted to specific tasks. In scientific laboratories, single-layer glass reactors are most often used, which embody universal functionality. Typically, such a device includes the following elements:
- a reaction vessel equipped with throats or fitted with a lid with outlets;
- an agitator having a variable speed armature;
- devices for regulating temperature, providing heating or cooling;
- a special bed for mounting the agitator and other additional accessories.
An electronic control unit is also an obligatory part of such a set. Depending on the tasks at hand, it is possible to connect the following equipment:
- an electric heater or compressor, supplying coolant with the required temperature;
- condenser, which performs specific functions;
- vacuum pump and peristaltic pump;
- a feeding funnel for precise dosage of substances;
- a variety of sensors, including temperature, pressure, acidity, and other parameters;
- as well as other specialized tools and equipment.
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