Crystallization Research

   The research activity at the Crystallization and Control laboratories (CCL-Western) at the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering at the University of Western Ontario is directed towards a greater understanding of the phenomena involved in crystallization processes. The overall aim is inventing new processes or improving the efficacy of the existing ones. Significant research activities have been conducted in various fields of crystallization including crystallization kinetics, crystallizer design, modeling, instrumentation and control. In crystallization kinetics, the research was focused on experimental study of nucleation, growth, agglomeration and breakage. Various types of crystallizers including batch, continuous and tubular have been investigated. Population balance-based first principle models have been developed for different crystallizers. Study of different quality indices of crystals namely, crystal shape, impurity and size distribution are parts of the ongoing investigation of the group. The experimental works have been performed on laboratory and pilot plant scales. So far, inorganic material such as KCl, NaCl, K 2 SO 4 and potash alum and organic material such as proteins of Canola and sunflower seeds have been tried. Recently the research has been extended to crystallization of value-added materials such as pharmaceuticals and fine chemicals. Control of polymorphism in pharmaceutical products is a major research topic in CCL. Research on the in-situ crystallization of nano size Na-Y zeolite crystals in micro sized amorphous silica matrix is underway. Crystallization of pharmaceuticals by supercritical GAS technology is on going. Synthetic and purification of Arylamine crystals for Xeographic and pharmaceuticals application is another subject of study.


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Dynamic Simulation and Control

   In the area of instrumentation, the activity is mainly focused on on-line measurement of supersaturation, suspension density and crystal shape and size distribution. The investigation in these areas resulted in invention of new instruments for on-line measurement of supersaturation and magma density in crystallizer with background particles.

   Identification and control of a riser type fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) unit and crystallization processes have been performed using neural networks algorithms, linear, nonlinear model predictive and geometric controllers. Application of extend linear quadratic dynamic matrix control (EQDMC), extended Kalman filter based geometric and dynamic matrix controls to crystallization processes are among recent theoretical investigations.

   Controlling particle size distribution, concentration, flow rate, and dissolved organic materials entering the UV disinfection process is essential to optimize UV disinfection. Understanding the effect of upstream processes on these parameters provides the key to control them, hence, optimize the UV disinfection process. To achieve this goal, process control strategies can be explored using dynamic simulation. The simulation will enable plants using ultraviolet disinfection to reduce the capital and operational costs due to over-design of the ultraviolet equipment, which is a common practice taken by the industry to ensure that the safety and health requirements are met without failure.


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Contact Info

Control and Crystallization of Pharmaceuticals (CCPL)
Thompson Eng. Bld.,

Room # 408

Tel: (519) 661-4116

(519) 661 -2111

 Ext: 81295
Fax: (519) 661-3498