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Title: Population balance model-based optimal control of batch crystallisation processes for systematic crystal size distribution design
Author: Aamir, Erum
ISNI:       0000 0004 2686 9505
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 2010
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During recent years crystallisation has found applications in many chemical industries, such as pharmaceutical, petrochemical, micro-electronics and food industries. Crystallisation is a basic step for purification or separation for a large variety of organic, inorganic and pharmaceutical compounds. Most of the product qualities are directly related to the shape of the crystal size distribution (CSD). The main difficulty in batch crystallisation processes is to accomplish a uniform and reproducible CSD. On-line control during the process allows for improved crystalline product quality, shorter process times and reduction or elimination of compromised batches. The actual prediction and estimation of the shape of the distribution at the end of the batch can provide useful information for monitoring or designing the operating curve for the supersaturation controller. Model-based approaches provide consistency of the CSD, can be used for better control and also for product design by reverse engineering the process to achieve the desired CSD and shape. This research presents a novel methodology for solving the population balance equation (PBE) for the estimation of the shape of the crystal size distribution for batch crystallisation processes. The approach combines the quadrature method of moments (QMOM) and the method of characteristics (MOCH), and provides a computationally efficient technique for the reconstruction of the whole crystal size distribution. The technique was used to estimate the kinetic parameters for the size-dependent growth and secondary nucleation, for potash alum-water system using industrial pilot plant data provided by BASF, Chemical Company. The combined technique was also used to estimate the size-dependent dissolution parameters for potash alum-water system, using laboratory scale data. The QMOM-MOCH solution approach is evaluated in a model-based dynamic optimization study, with the aim to obtain the optimal temperature profiles, which drive the system in both the supersaturated and under-saturated region, to achieve desired target CSD. Using growth, dissolution and nucleation parameters the technique was used to optimise the temperature trajectories to obtain bimodal and mono-modal distributions. The technique can serve as a soft sensor for predicting the CSD, or as a computationally efficient algorithm for off-line design or on-line adaptation of operating policies based on knowledge of the full CSD data. Additionally, the PBE model was solved using the method of characteristics under the assumption of constant supersaturation. At constant supersaturation growth is the dominating phenomenon, yielding a simplified analytical expression for the prediction of the CSD. The research presents the new methodology for the systematic design of the setpoint operating curves for supersaturation controlled crystallisation processes, which produces a desired target crystal size distribution (CSD) at the end of the batch. A design parameter, was introduced as a function of the supersaturation and time, and is evaluated for supersaturation controlled processes. Based on the design parameter and the simplified analytical model, the supersaturation setpoint and batch time are determined using an optimisation approach to obtain a target distribution with a desired shape. Two additional methods are also proposed that use the seed in conjunction with the supersaturation setpoint design, and analytical CSD estimator for shaping the product CSD. The first approach designs a seed recipe as a mixture of crystals resulting for example from standard sieve analysis. In this approach the seed was introduced at the beginning of the batch. The second approach introduces the dynamic seeding concept, which allows an easily implementable methodology to achieve complex target CSDs using seed with mono-modal distribution as a process actuator. These methodologies were validated for potassium dichromate-water system. Size-dependent growth kinetic parameters for the potassium dichromate-water system were identified using as experimental setup developed at Loughborough University. The experiments presented in the thesis also illustrates the simultaneous application of in situ Process Analytical Technology (PAT) tools, such as focused beam reflectance measurement (FBRM) for nucleation detection, attenuated total reflection (ATR) UV/Vis spectroscopy for concentration monitoring, as well as the in-line use of a Mastersizer for real-time CSD measurement in the case of the potassium dichromate in water system. The approaches provide a comprehensive framework for model-based dynamic optimisation of crystallisation processes, which combines efficient numerical solution approaches of the PBE with the formulation of novel optimisation problems. The techniques presented include controlled dissolution, simultaneous optimisation of operating policies and seed recipes and dynamic seeding. Simulation and experimental evaluations of the proposed approaches demonstrate the potential of the techniques to provide significant improvement in the current state-of-the-art in crystallisation control.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available