Jul 16

Reaction Optimization – Increasing reaction Sustainability

A small group of students have been set with the task of using the JMP Design of Experiment software to increase the sustainability of a variety of reactions. This is being performed by taking literature reactions, and working with the software to find the optimum conditions for a high percentage yield & low power usage.

There are two main things that will increase the percentage yield of a reaction that influence the power consumption; Temperature of the reaction, and the time of the reaction. By concentrating on these two variables, we will be able to reduce the overall power consumption of a reaction, whilst lowering the power usage, i.e. a reaction that usually takes 8 hours, at 140 degrees, might yield the same results if run for 3 hours, at 160 degrees. Whilst the increase in temperature seems counter-intuitive for sustainability, the vast reduction in time spent at high temperature could produce a large drop in the power used.

As well as power usage, for an increase in sustainability, solvents are also being optimized. Could a reaction that is normally run in DMF be done in n-butanol instead, for a great increase in sustainability? Or, perhaps the reaction that uses 50 mL of DMF could work just as well, or better if only 30 mL of DMF is being used?

All of this is being aimed for a large presentation to fellow academics, in the hope that they will take the information on board. If the reactions that are run everyday, for use as research precursors, could be optimized with a lowering of power usage, or use of greener solvents, then the sustainability of whole research departments could be increased.

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