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Front. Chem. Eng., 12 October 2022
Sec. Microfluidic Engineering and Process Intensification
Volume 4 - 2022 |

Editorial: Fundamentals, design and applications in process-intensifying equipment

  • 1School of Engineering, Newcastle University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, United Kingdom
  • 2Laboratoire de Génie Chimique, Université de Toulouse, CNRS, INPT, UPS, Toulouse, France

Process intensification in chemical engineering processes has been a topic of significant scientific interest for well over 20 years and its interest in the process industries for diverse applications is prevailing. A wide variety of process-intensifying equipment has been developed over this time and are currently used in industrial applications. This Research Topic focuses on the use of specific equipment for process intensification. It aims covering recent and novel research on process-intensifying equipment, ranging from the fundamental physical understanding of process improvement, performance characterization and design guidelines for such devices to applications of industrial interest.

Mixing is a cornerstone of process intensification. Often “intensified” reactors and heat exchange devices are simply novel and more effective methods of mixing. Hence, the measurement of mixing is a key underpinning technique in PI research. A variety of methods for in situ measurements of mixing have been developed, as different techniques are required for different circumstances, due to variations in the phases present, viscosities, opacities etc. In PI. Frey et al.’s paper, “A Novel Approach for Visualizing Mixing Phenomena of Reactive Liquid-Liquid Flows in Milli- and Micro-Channels”, the authors describe a new way of measuring small-scale flows, using spatially resolved imaging UV/Vis spectroscopy. The paper, (Matos et al.) “Mixing in the NETmix Reactor” illustrates the uses of simulation in design of intensified process technologies. It describes the modelling of a multiple chamber jet-impingement reactor, allowing optimisation of its geometric parameters.

One of the main forms of process intensification in practise is the conversion of inherently inefficient batch processes to more efficient continuous processing. A key element in this conversion is the presence or availability of the necessary analytical equipment, to cope with shorter feedback times i.e. equipment that can analyse continually, rapidly and online. Ideally, the online techniques are spectroscopic, as such techniques tend to be very rapid. However, this is not always possible, particularly for complex mixtures and/or complex molecules, particularly pharmaceuticals. Escriba-Golonch et al.’s paper, “Automated High-Pressure At-line Analysis of Photo-High-P,T Vitamin D3 Microfluidic Synthesis” deals with this aspect of process intensification, in their development of an automatic HPLC for specific the pharmaceuticals in a microreactor.

Author contributions

AH: writing MP: writing JA: writing.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

Publisher’s note

All claims expressed in this article are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of their affiliated organizations, or those of the publisher, the editors and the reviewers. Any product that may be evaluated in this article, or claim that may be made by its manufacturer, is not guaranteed or endorsed by the publisher.

Keywords: process intensifcation, mixing, batch to continuous processes, microreactor, on-line analysis

Citation: Harvey A, Poux M and Aubin J (2022) Editorial: Fundamentals, design and applications in process-intensifying equipment. Front. Chem. Eng. 4:1038183. doi: 10.3389/fceng.2022.1038183

Received: 06 September 2022; Accepted: 21 September 2022;
Published: 12 October 2022.

Edited and reviewed by:

Dan Wang, Beijing University of Chemical Technology, China

Copyright © 2022 Harvey, Poux and Aubin. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

*Correspondence: Joelle Aubin,