Types of laboratory reactors

Types of Laboratory Reactors

There are many types of reactors, therefore there are many typologies. These devices can be classified according to the number of working phases, according to the material of the reaction flask, according to the options for working with different temperatures and pressures, according to many other characteristics.

Today we will consider the typology of reactors by their supports:

  • on a tripod,
  • on a floor stand,
  • mobile.

The tripod-mounted reactor is compact and usually placed on a laboratory bench. The characteristic features of such an apparatus:

  • a small mixer or it is completely absent;
  • no bulky support frame;
  • few additional elements;
  • vessel volume – from a few milliliters to 2 liters.

Laboratory reactors with reaction vessels ranging from 2 to 200 liters or more are often placed on floor stands. The vessel is attached to the frame by the neck and rests on the bottom of the stand. It is possible to attach additional equipment to the supporting structure. These can be flasks, refrigerators, dispensers, pumps, and more. Sometimes the frames are equipped with shelves and various holders.

A mobile laboratory reactor is an apparatus on a stand equipped with wheels – usually with clamps. The design is similar to the second type, except that mobiles are usually small for ease of movement. There are exceptions, though.


  1. Compact reactors are a good choice for chemists working with expensive materials or reagents that are only available in small quantities. Also, the small volume of the flask minimizes the amount of waste requiring special disposal, reduces the risk when using hazardous materials. For example, in an explosion, the consequences will be less devastating.
  2. Laboratory reactors on floor stands are required for working with polymers. The stand, firmly fixed to the floor, will allow you to install agitators with a powerful motor and reinforced transmissions. These models provide high torque at low agitator speeds. Suitable for high viscosity mixtures.

Another important application is for aggregates that require significant modifications. Stability and sufficient space on the floor stand allow you to change the configuration of additional piping: condensers, packed columns, heaters, and refrigerators, jacketed vessels, etc.

  1. Mobile reactors are convenient in cases when they are not used constantly, but are moved for storage to another room; when the reaction masses need to be moved for further processing without being removed from the reaction vessel. Also irreplaceable for classrooms and laboratories.

The principle of packaging and assembly of a laboratory chemical reactor

Chemical laboratory reactors are devices forcarrying out processes under specified conditions, monitoring these processes, modeling, and automation.

There are laboratory instruments with reaction vessels with a volume of only a few cubic ml and large ones designed for a few cubic meters. There are units designed to be installed on a table or on the floor, stationary and mobile.

What the device consists of

The reactor is a metal structure with an installed reaction vessel and other components, the list of which depends on the tasks to be solved.

The main part is a reaction vessel, made of chemically resistant material. The most common are laboratory glass and stainless steel. Containers, as a rule, come with a drain and a lid.

The cover usually has several openings for different devices. Vessels are manufactured with the expectation of work at high or low temperatures, high and low pressure.

In addition to a vessel, lid, support frame or stand, the basic configuration of a laboratory chemical reactor usually includes:

  • a laboratory stirrer and a motor for rotating it;
  • electronic control unit;
  • temperature and pressure sensors;
  • fridge;
  • drip funnel;
  • outlet valve;
  • connecting elements.

Optional, but often included in the kit, include:

  • receiving flask;
  • heating or cooling devices;
  • taps for additional equipment (vacuum pumps, compressors or chillers to maintain low temperatures).

The readings of the sensors allow you to see information about the processes taking place in the device. Some reactors can be connected to a computer. The software processes the data and displays the process picture online.

A chemical reactor is usually assembled in a modular fashion. The modular design allows the unit to be assembled according to the customer’s needs at the lowest cost.


The devices are used for the reactions of evaporation, melting, homogenization, separation and others. Glass containers allow you to monitor the progress of the process, and stainless ones are used to work at high or low atmospheric pressure.

Large volume chemical reactors are used in various industries, for example, in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, chemistry. Small ones – in scientific laboratories, as well as for testing the technical process before launching into production – such products are sometimes called pilot reactors. In production, they use special, industrial reactors.

The purpose of laboratory chemical instruments with a stirrer and heating, also called reaction calorimeters, is to study a chemical process, measure heat flux, including in time, determine a temperature profile, enthalpy, etc.

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