MSE Research Project Database

Crystallisation process dontrol and design

Project Leader: Kathryn Mumford
Collaborators: Yue Wu
Primary Contact: Kathryn Mumford (
Keywords: solid-liquid systems
Disciplines: Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering

In the mining industry, the sequential precipitating method is commonly applied to separate valuable elements such as cobalt, nickel and manganese successively from leaching solutions. Optimised operating conditions such as temperature and pH have significant impact on product quality and operating cost. In addition, some typical crystallisation units in the mining industry such as ammonium paratungstate manufacture from evaporative crystallisation are energy intensive, and the quality of ammonium paratungstate is dependent on a number of variables such as nucleation temperature, evaporation rate, stirring rate and pH. The optimisation of the crystallisation process is essential to cut down energy cost and obtain uniform particle size distribution. This project is to use in-situ Focused Beam Reflectance Measurement (FBRM®), a laser based process analytical technology, in an integrated workstation (Optimax workstation 1001) with accurate control on temperature, stirring speed, anti-solvent dosing rate and pH to develop optimised model-free control strategies for crystallisation processes. This can be achieved through a feedback control strategy that is based on the difference between the set points and the real-time measurements of effects such as concentration/supersaturation, particle counts, temperature or concentration (T/C) control, and direction nucleation control.