Chemical Engineering in Aqueous Systems
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.
Recent research activities:
- 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.
Our activities in images:
Heat transfer in melt crystallizer (CFD simulation)
Setup for continuous process
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 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.
Image of boiling-point experimental setup: (1) vacuum pump, (2) condenser, (3) pressure gauge, (4) thermometer, (5) magnetic stirrer, (6) heating mantle.
EasyMax 402 crystallization system: (1, 2) reactors, (3) Focused Beam Reflectance Measurement tool, (4,4*) stirrers, (5) vacuum system, (6) control panel, (7) pump head, (8) digital drive.
Our research group members:
Our team (from left to right): Anna, Nahla, Marjatta, Mitra, Jianxin and Rajaboopathi.
Anna at the lab.
Mitra at the lab.
Jianxin at the lab.
Could mesocrystals make medication more effective? - Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship was awarded to Dr. Rajaboopathi Mani
More water soluble the drug is the faster and more effective it works. Many new drug molecules have low solubility and that could limit their effectiveness when taken by mouth.
Freezing winter temperatures can be put to good use in improving the cost and energy efficiency of wastewater purification.