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Efficient simulation of the effect of mixing and flow condition on product crystal qualities in a continuous crystallizer using coupled CFD-PBE approach

Project Description

The majority of the active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) used in the pharmaceutical industries are crystals of organic molecules. In these industries, crystallization is widely used as the principal method of separation and purification. As opposed to the traditionally used batch mode, the interest is continuous crystallization has increased significantly in recent years due to several benefits such as consistency of product quality and reduced manufacturing cost by improving asset utilization. While designing continuous crystallizer at the industrial scale, e.g., plug flow crystallizer (PFC), the effect of imperfect mixing and flow condition has to be considered since they can affect the product crystal qualities as well as plant operation significantly. For example, imperfect mixing can lead to local variation in supersaturation within the crystallizer that may results in excessive fine crystals. In order to take this variation into account while modelling continuous crystallization, this work aims at combining computational fluid dynamics (CFD) describing flow field with population balance equation (PBE) describing changes in the crystal phase. The solution of the governing equations for coupled CFD-PBE is computationally expensive. Thus, in most of the previous works that consider coupled CFD-PBE approach, the PBE is solved only in terms of moments of the crystal size distribution (CSD).

In this work, efficient solution techniques such as lattice Boltzmann method (LBM) will be used for solving the coupled CFD-PBE model equations, where the solution of the PBE in terms of CSD will be explored. LBM is a simulation technique that takes a bottom up approach by solving simplified governing equations at the mesoscopic level which is equivalent to solving the complicated nonlinear governing equations at the macroscopic level. These results will be very useful in designing industrial continuous crystallizer with particular application to pharmaceutical and chemical sectors.

The successful candidate should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum of a UK Honours degree at 2.1 or above (or equivalent) in Chemical Engineering or a similar discipline.

Knowledge or interest in process design, simulation and experience in computer programming (e.g., C/C++/FORTRAN) are highly expected


Formal applications can be completed online: You should apply for Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering, to ensure that your application is passed to the correct person for processing.


Informal inquiries can be made to Dr A Majumder () with a copy of your curriculum vitae and cover letter. All general enquiries should be directed to the Postgraduate Research School ().

Funding Notes

There is no funding attached to this project. It is for self-funded students only.

How good is research at Aberdeen University in General Engineering?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 38.60

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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