Reaction blocks

for hotplate and coldplate stirrers

The most comprehensive range of Reaction Blocks ever made

Our reaction blocks support a wide range of vessels and stirring options, designed to make your life easier. We offer scientists a more productive way for screening, for parallel synthesis and for performing difficult synthetic reactions.

Reaction blocks are an effective way of providing heating for multiple reactions in parallel synthesis.  Their popularity has been enhanced as they substitute traditional oil baths for heating.  For some users, they are mediocrity.  Metal blocks with holes to support glass tubes or vials without the levels of control offered by more traditional methods.  Our reaction blocks have been designed to overcome these limitations.  The Polar Bear product range offers scientists’ better control and flexibility in an area parallel synthesis that is crying out for change.  Inclusive is digital data management, we can record all the process parameters needed to ensure that experiments can be performed repeatedly and reproducibly.  We’re taking out the manual element to give you more control!

Our reaction blocks support vessels, vials, tubes, round bottom flasks and the like.  In our designs, we consider the location, the fill volume, the method of stirring, the response time of the reaction block to changes in temperature and purpose specific applications like hydrogenation, monitoring crystallisation and viscosity in real time.

Tumble stirring has been a significant development in automated parallel synthesis.  Current devices work well with small volume microtiter sized reaction blocks.  However, these systems are limited by eddy currents which are generated by powerful magnetic fields causing unwanted heating. Our own experiments show temperatures upwards of fifty degrees centigrade.  Our Polar Bear and compact tumble stirrer offer a solution.  Our Polar Bear can be used to regulate the temperature of the tumble stirrer and microtiter sized reaction block, down to minus twenty degrees centigrade.

We support a wide range of vials for applications like screening, digestion, extraction, and synthesis. Our round bottom flask reaction blocks have magnetic clamps to support them, unlike any outer.  Our RBFs are moulded by experienced glassblowers, so they are perfectly round. Nothing is left to chance.

The number of vessels that can supported by a reaction block depends on the size of the plate. Standard hotplate stirrers have a plate diameter of 135 mm or 145 mm.  The Polar Bear Plus has the largest plate diameter of 150 mm, meaning that it can support more vessels.  Moreover, the Polar Bear plate is manufactured in pure copper, with better thermal conductivity than steel and ceramics plates.  The Polar Bear ensures that reaction blocks are heated evenly over the contact area.  All our Reaction Blocks are insulated. This is an important feature for operating at ambient and sub ambient temperatures.  The insulation shields the Reaction Block from fume hood drafts and condensation at sub ambient temperatures.

Unpinning these improvements in Reaction Blocks is the development of the Polar Bear Plus, a revolution in laboratory temperature management.  The Polar Bear is the size of a shoebox which like no other, heats cools and stirs from -40 to +150 C, without the need for cryogenic consumables or running water.  Importantly, it incorporates the most sophisticated control and data management system.  It operates at temperature accuracies down to one hundredths of a degree.  This enables scientists to digitise their reaction block experiments.  Yes, gone are the days of conventional hot plate stirrers that only operate above ambient.  Also gone is the need for bulky circulators, sticky oil and cumbersome hose connections.

All our reaction blocks support a temperature sensor.  In operation, the plate temperature is controlled to maintain the temperature of the reaction block.  How well this works depends on a few things but mainly on the algorithm used by the temperature controller, the contact area, the material of the reaction block and the location of the temperature sensor.  In short, a good system is one where the reaction block temperature follows the user set point temperature, not overshooting, or undershooting the user set point value at any time.  Cheap control algorithms are a shocker!  The process controllers used by the Polar Bear Plus are not just good – they are world-class.  The Polar Bear Plus controls temperatures with precision, down to one hundredth of a degree and records everything, all the time.

In some applications for example screening for crystallisation, the response to heating and cooling is dependent on an additional consideration, the mass of the reaction block.  A lower mass offers a better response to temperature ramps and to temperature cycling.  Some of our heating blocks assemblies offer support for turbidity sensors, used to indicate the onset of crystallisation and dissolution.

Our reaction blocks are designed to support a range of vessels with a multitude of mixing options – for fluids that could be thin or viscous, solutions or suspensions or materials that could undergo a phase change during processing.  Our reaction blocks support a wider range of stirring methods, magnetic and overhead stirring, tumble stirring and stirring with ultrasound.  With overhead stirring, we provide a range of paddle styles in glass and PEEK materials designed to mimic production situations.

Our Reaction Blocks are easy to set up, allows switching from vials to flasks in seconds, and are easy to disassemble for cleaning.  Just in case we have missed anything we also manufacture custom Reaction Blocks at a fixed price.

A final word about our Smart Controllers which allow both our reaction blocks and Polar Bear to be extended with limitless connectivity.  Imagine a lab where everything about your chemistry is digital and compliant to regulatory standards.  How cool is that!