Design and evaluation of improved magnetic stir bars for single-mode microwave reactors†
Magnetic stirring in sealed cylindrical vessels designed for use in single-mode microwave instruments is typically less than optimal, and is not comparable to the efficient agitation that can be generally obtained in a round-bottomed flask fitted with a suitable magnetic stir bar or using overhead mechanical stirring systems. A new “vertical blade” stir bar design that improves the stirring performance in the very narrow, flow-constricting microwave vessels has been developed and evaluated for several different transformations where stirring and efficient agitation are known to be of importance. The better performance of these novel stirrers compared to the traditional cylindrical stir bar design is not only due to the geometry of the stirrer but also to the utilization of a magnetic material with a stronger magnetic transmission force (Sm2Co17) compared to standard ferrite or AlNiCo alloys. For all three tested cases involving solid/liquid, liquid/liquid and highly viscous reaction systems, the new vertical blade stirrers showed a distinctively improved performance resulting in higher conversions and/or product yields.