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Title: Modelling and control of crystal purity, size and shape distributions in crystallization processes
Authors: Borsos, Akos
Keywords: Crystallization
Impurity adsorption
Population balance modelling
Shape control
Purity control
Process optimization
Issue Date: 2017
Publisher: © Akos Borsos
Abstract: Crystallization is a key unit operation used for obtaining purified products by many process industries. The key properties of the crystalline products, such as size and shape distribution, purity and polymorphic form are controlled by the crystallization process. All these properties impact significantly the downstream operations such as drying or filtration. Therefore, monitoring and controlling this process is fundamental to ensure the quality of the final product. Process analytical technology (PAT) brings numerous new methods and opportunities in the process analytics and real time process monitoring systems, which can be integrated into the control algorithm and provide high level optimal control strategies as well as deeper understanding of the process. Process monitoring helps develop mathematical models which can, in one hand, help in better understanding the processes and consecvently the development and application of advanced control methods in order to achieve better product quality. In this work, image processing and image analysis based direct nucleation control (IA-DNC) is developed in order to investigate the evolution of the crystal properties, such as crystal size, and crystal shape distribution. The IA-DNC approach is also compared to alternative DNC techniques, in which particle number were measured by Focused Beam Reflectance Measurement (FBRM) in order to control crystal size. A control approach is introduced that control the nucleation and disappearance of crystals during cooling and heating segments related to the changes of the number of counts (measured by Particle Vision Measurment, so called PVM or combination of FBRM and PVM). The approach was applied to investigate crystallization of compounds with different behavior: potassium dihydrogen phosphate (KDP) water, contaminated KDP -water and Ascorbic acid water systems. The results demonstrate the application of imaging technique for model-free feedback control for tailoring crystal product properties. The second main aim of the thesis is to investigate and control crystallization processes in impure media in the presence of multiple impurities, with an impact on the crystal shape via growth kinetics. The broad impact of the crystal growth modifiers (impurities) on the growth kinetics is observed in real time by using in situ video imaging probe and real-time image analysis. A morphological population balance model is developed, which incorporates a multi-site, competitive adsorption mechanism of the impurities on the crystal faces. The kinetic parameters of primary nucleation, growth and impurity adsorption for a model system of potassium dihydrogen phosphate crystallization in water in the presence of two impurities, were estimated and validated with experimental results. It was demonstrated that the model can be used to describe the dynamic evolution of crystal properties, such as size and aspect ratio during crystallization for different impurity profiles in the system. Manual, feedback and hybrid feedback-feedforward control techniques are developed and investigated numerically for continuous processes, while model-based and model-free control approach for crystal shape are developed for batch processes. The developed morphological population balance model is implemented and applied in the model-based control approaches, which are suitable to describe multicomponent adsorption processes and their influence on the crystal shape. Case studies show the effectiveness of crystal growth modifiers based shape control techniques. Comparison of different control approaches shows the effectiveness of the techniques. The third part of the thesis deals with purification of crystals when adsorption of impurities on crystal surfaces and its incorporation into crystals are considered. A purification method, called competitive purity control (CPC) is proposed and investigated. A morphological population balance model, including nucleation, growth and competitive impurity adsorption kinetics is developed to describe the case when multiple impurities can adsorb competitively on the crystal surface. The model is also combined with liquid phase chemical reaction model, in order to investigate the purity control case when an additive is introduced in the system that reacts with the impurity forming a non-adsorbing reaction product. Both competitive purity control approaches proposed: the adsorption based competitive purity control (A-CPC) and the reaction based competitive purity control (R-CPC); are investigated using detailed numerical simulations then compared with the alternative widely used purification method, called recrystallization. In the last contribution chapter, an integrated process optimization of a continuous chemical reactor and crystallizer is performed and studied numerically. The purpose of this study is to show the way in which the byproduct produced in the chemical reactor may affect the crystallization process and how its negative effect can be reduced by applying integrated process optimization. Sensitivity analysis of the system was performed by considering the flow rate and the concentration of substances in the input stream of the chemical reactor as manipulated process variables. Model based integrated process optimization and the sensitivity analysis in order to obtain improved quality product in terms of crystal size, shape and purity.
Description: A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.
Sponsor: European Research Council, grant no. [280106-CrySys].
URI: https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/25478
Appears in Collections:PhD Theses (Chemical Engineering)

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