A Scalable Membrane Pervaporation Approach for Continuous Flow Olefin Metathesis


Waltham, MA – April 30, 2020 – Snapdragon Chemistry recently collaborated with MIT’s Jamison group and Compact Membrane Systems yielding a continuous membrane RCM reactor that expels ethylene by-product via selective permeation. In this article, we explain how the translation of olefin metathesis reactions from the laboratory to process scale has been challenging with traditional batch techniques. We describe a continuous membrane reactor design that selectively permeates the ethylene byproduct from metathetical processes, thereby overcoming the mass-transport limitations that have negatively influenced the efficiency of this transformation in batch vessels. The membrane sheet-in-frame pervaporation module yielded turnover numbers of >7500 in the case of diethyl diallylmalonate ring-closing metathesis. The preparation of more challenging, low-effective-molarity substrates, a cyclooctene and a 14-membered macrocyclic lactone, was also effective. A comparison of optimal membrane reactor conditions to a sealed tubular reactor revealed that the benefits of ethylene removal are most apparent at low reaction concentrations.

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About Snapdragon Chemistry
Snapdragon Chemistry specializes in active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) batch and continuous flow process development, utilizing state-of-the-art automation technology and proprietary equipment to solve complex process and analytical development challenges. With R&D and manufacturing headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts, Snapdragon’s 70+ employees come with strong ties to the local scientific community, with 31 PhD scientists on staff. For more information, please contact info@snapdragonchemistry.com.