Engineering chemistry: integrating batch and flow reactions on a single, automated reactor platform†
Synthesis chemistry need not be limited to either only batch or only flow; rather, in the future we expect that it will consist of an amalgamation of the best and most appropriate methods. We have therefore devised a single reactor platform to conduct both batch and flow reactions, either singly or in concert, using open source technologies to automate, control and monitor individual processes. We illustrate this concept with the multistep synthesis of 5-methyl-4-propylthiophene-2-carboxylic acid to showcase the utility of this approach in a telescoped manner. Automated downstream processing techniques, consisting of continuous extraction and solvent switching steps, were also included, further freeing the chemist from routine laboratory tasks.