Department of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering

Chemical Engineering in Aqueous Systems

The group, led by Prof. Marjatta Louhi-Kultanen, is studying the unit operations of aqueous systems and the solid-liquid phases equilibria.
Water is one of the most commonly used solvents, auxiliary agents, coolants, heating substances, and working fluids in industrial applications. Water has several special characteristics that make it unique. The purification and energy-efficient and cost-effective recycling of water is important on the global level.
Sea water

Our research areas:

  1. Separation Science

  2. Water Purification

  3. Realtime Process Monitoring

Water has an important role in many unit operations in applications of the chemical industry, hydrometallurgy, wood processing, food production, the metal industry and biorefining. For instance, different types of unit operations of water systems include precipitation, crystallization, freezing, eutectic freeze crystallization, drying, evaporation, absorption and adsorption, dissolution, heat transfer and post-processing of liquids and solids.

For a deeper understanding and modelling of production processes, it is also important to know the states of equilibrium between multiphase systems. The gas-liquid, liquid-liquid, and solid-liquid states of equilibrium in water systems need to be known with a sufficient degree of precision.

Our recent research activities have focused on:

  • separation and purification of valued compounds from biorefineries, metals from waste and side streams, nutrients and other recyclable materials by crystallization and precipitation
  • identification of critical impurities and their separation from solutions
  • crystallization of mesocrystals for pharmaceutical applications
  • regeneration of chemicals: concentration of aqueous solutions containing green solvents by freezing 
  • pre-treatment of aqueous electrolyte solutions to remove fine particles by microfiltration and organic compounds by adsorption containing
  • real-time monitoring of crystal growth and nucleation kinetics and separation efficiency of microfiltration
CMET_aqueous systems_boiling point
Image of boiling-point experimental setup: (1) vacuumpump, (2) condenser, (3) pressure gauge, (4) thermometer, (5) magnetic stirrer, (6) heating mantle

Our lab and facilities:

  • We have good facilities consisting of a laboratory scale stirred tank station which allows studies on continuous, semi-batch and batch process mode at ambient or lower pressures. The station is equipped with a calorimeter and accurate temperature control system. Various crystallization methods, such as cooling crystallization, evaporative crystallization, reactive crystallization and anti-solvent crystallization, can be investigated.
  • Melt crystallization devices for layer and suspension crystallization studies
  • Solid-liquid equilibria research based on using thermal analysis methods, solubility measurements and optical detection of saturation point of solutions
  • Realtime monitoring of chord lengths of particulates in fluids
  • Thermodynamic modeling of electrolyte and non-electrolyte solutions
  • Vacuum and pressure test filters for filterability studies to determine principle filtration parameters


Research group members:

Latest publications:

Lithium Carbonate Precipitation by Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Reactive Crystallization

Bing Han, Rana Anwar Ul Haq, Marjatta Louhi-Kultanen 2020 Hydrometallurgy

Purification efficiency of natural freeze crystallization for urban wastewaters

Miia John, Antti Häkkinen, Marjatta Louhi-Kultanen 2020 Cold Regions Science and Technology

Freeze Concentration of Aqueous [DBNH][OAc] Ionic Liquid Solution

Nahla Osmanbegovic, Lina Yuan, Heike Lorenz, Marjatta Louhi-Kultanen 2020 Crystals

Physical Properties of 7-Methyl-1,5,7-triazabicyclo[4.4.0]dec-5-ene (mTBD)

Zachariah Steven Baird, Artur Dahlberg, Petri Uusi-Kyyny, Nahla Osmanbegovic, Joanna Witos, Jussi Helminen, Daniel Cederkrantz, Paulus Hyväri, Ville Alopaeus, Ilkka Kilpeläinen, Susanne K. Wiedmer, Herbert Sixta 2019 INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF THERMOPHYSICS

Purification of Nickel Sulfate by Batch Cooling Crystallization

Bing Han, Oluf Bøckman, Benjamin P. Wilson, Mari Lundström, Marjatta Louhi-Kultanen 2019 Chemical Engineering and Technology

High Purity Nickel Recovery from an Industrial Sidestream Using Concentration and Liquid-Liquid Extraction Techniques

Fang Hu, Benjamin P. Wilson, Bing Han, Jianxin Zhang, Marjatta Louhi-Kultanen, Mari Lundström 2019 JOM

Impurity separation efficiency of multi-component wastewater in a pilot-scale freeze crystallizer

Miia John, Tuhin Choudhury, Roman Filimonov, Emil Kurvinen, Muhammad Saeed, Aki Mikkola, Mika Mänttäri, Marjatta Louhi-Kultanen 2019 Separation and Purification Technology

Experimental Study of Effective Mass and Spin-Orbital Energy of the Al2O3/NiO Nanoheterostructure Material

Gnanasekaran Munusamy, Rajaboopathi Mani, Krishnakumar Varadharajan, Surumbarkuzhali Narasimhan 2019 Journal of Physical Chemistry A

Influence of Various Solutes on Formation of Ice Layer

Nahla Osmanbegovic, Bing Han, Marjatta Louhi-Kultanen 2019
More information on our research in the Research database.
Research database
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