The pros and cons of glass reactor vs. stainless steel reactor

Glass reactors and stainless steel reactors are two common types of chemical reactors used in various industries. They differ in their materials, properties, advantages, and disadvantages.

A glass reactor is a reactor made of carbon steel structure with a glass lining of uniform thickness. The glass lining protects the steel from corrosion and provides chemical inertness. Glass reactors are ideal for dealing with strong acids like nitric, sulphuric, hydrochloric, or phosphoric acids that would corrode stainless steel reactors over time. Glass reactors also have a wide range of chemistry that can be performed in them. 

Some advantages of glass reactors are:

  • They have high resistance to thermal shock.

  • They have low maintenance costs.

  • They have excellent heat transfer properties.

Some disadvantages of glass reactors are:

  • They have limited pressure and temperature ranges.

  • They are relatively prone to mechanical damage or cracking.

A stainless steel reactor is a reactor made of stainless steel alloy that has high strength and durability. Stainless steel reactors are suitable for general laboratory purposes that do not require precise temperature control or protection from oxidation. Stainless steel reactors can achieve higher temperatures and pressures than glass reactors and have shorter heat-up and recovery times. 

Some advantages of stainless steel reactors are:

  • They have high mechanical strength and stability.

  • They have good resistance to abrasion and wear.

  • They have easy inspection and repair options.

Some disadvantages of stainless steel reactors are:

  • They have lower resistance to corrosion by strong acids or alkalis.

  • They have higher maintenance costs due to the need of deep cleaning when it's contaminated.