MSE Research Project Database

Solution crystallisation: pharmaceuticals

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

Due to the development of process analytical technologies such as ATR-FTIR and FBRM, nucleation and growth theory is developed at molecular level coupled with controlling strategies, and thus provides guidance and insights for the pharmaceutical industry to improve efficiency and regulate risks via quality-by-design (QbD) and quality-by-control (QbC). This project will use model-based control strategies for pharmaceutical crystallisation processes using an optimised algorithm. This will be achieved through a novel method in which the nucleation and crystal growth rates are directly calculated from the moments of particle population distribution measured by FBRM. By combining the crystallisation model with the population balance and mass balances, the optimal operating conditions such as cooling temperature profile or anti-solvent flow rate can be determined using single- or multi-objective optimisation algorithms in MATLAB. In addition, we are also interested in novel crystallizer design in micro scale using 3-D printing technology, which enables to separate nucleation with growth stage to comprehensively evaluate critical parameters affecting pharmaceutical engineering.