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The synthesis of Aspirin and Acetobromo-α-D-glucose using 3D printed flow reactors: an undergraduate demonstration

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The field of flow chemistry is growing rapidly, drawing attention across different disciplines. Despite its increasing popularity in the industry and research, little attention is given to the teaching of flow chemistry in the educational environment, especially at the undergraduate level. A major challenge with teaching undergraduate flow chemistry is the high cost of flow chemistry equipment. This study reports the development of low-cost, functioning flow chemistry equipment for the teaching of flow chemistry and experimental practicum. This provides the students with hands-on instruction in fabricating flow reaction devices by 3D printing. It also allows undergraduate students to understand the basics of flow chemistry and chemical engineering. An exciting part of this study is the skills acquired by undergraduate students. This is because of the learning experience they are exposed to by training and independently operating fabrication equipment, setting up flow experiments and conducting flow experiments with the fabricated devices. Finally, due to the low cost of the equipment, the set-up is suitable for teaching flow chemistry in a low-resource environment, such as our teaching laboratories in South Africa.

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The authors are grateful for the financial support from the Teaching and Innovation Fund, University of Johannesburg. Thanks are also extended to the University of Johannesburg Global Excellence Stature (G.E.S.) 4.0 initiative. All undergraduate students who have assisted in this study are acknowledged for their constructive comments and participation. We would also like to thank Mr. D. Harris and Dr. R. Meyer from Shimadzu, South Africa, for the use of their instruments.

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Correspondence to Reinout Meijboom.

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Alimi, O.A., Potgieter, K., Khumalo, A.A. et al. The synthesis of Aspirin and Acetobromo-α-D-glucose using 3D printed flow reactors: an undergraduate demonstration. J Flow Chem 12, 265–274 (2022).

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