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Digital design, scale-up and control of crystallisation processes


Key facts

Type of research degree
Application deadline
Thursday 15 June 2023
Project start date
Sunday 1 October 2023
Country eligibility
International (open to all nationalities, including the UK)
Competition funded
Source of funding
Doctoral training partnership
Dr Tariq Mahmud
Additional supervisors
Professor Kevin J Roberts
School of Chemical and Process Engineering
<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Summary</h2>

As part of the Industry 4.0 agenda for digital transformation of manufacturing, chemical sector has recognised the need for adopting this idea for improved efficiency and productivity. This PhD project focuses on the development of a workflow based on digital modelling tools for design, scale-up and control of crystallisation processes for the manufacture of high purity crystalline products with increased yield, for example, in fine chemicals and pharmaceutical industries. The adoption of such in-silico modelling tools can lead to faster process development, shorter product time to market and a significant reduction in R&amp;D costs.

<h2 class="heading hide-accessible">Full description</h2>

<p>Crystallisation processes are widely used in a range of chemical and process industry, e.g. agrochemical, fine chemicals and pharmaceutical industries, for the isolation and purification of active solid ingredients. Crystallisation is commonly carried out in batch jacketed stirred tank reactors. The design and operation of crystallisers directly influence the properties of crystals (such as the size, shape, polymorphic form, purity and yields), which in turn determine the quality and the performance of the final solid products. In these industries, crystallisation process development at a laboratory scale and its scaling up to manufacturing scales is largely carried out via experimental trial and error methods. This approach adversely affects the R&amp;D costs and prolongs the product time to market. Thus, as part of the digital transformation of chemical manufacturing sector building on the Industry 4.0 agenda, applications of digital design approaches using first-principles based modelling tools can enable faster process development, scale up and definition of control strategy for the production of crystals meeting&nbsp;the highest quality standards.</p> <p>This PhD project aims to develop a modelling framework&nbsp;for the digital design, scale-up and control of batch crystallisation processes based on a recently proposed strategy*. In this project, first-principle based crystallisation process models will be developed and integrated with a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software (such as ANSYS Fluent) for the crystalliser hydrodynamics, mixing and heat transfer for the prediction of crystal size and shape distributions. In order to enhance the impact and uptake of the model, a computationally expedient compartmental modelling framework informed by CFD will be developed in a software platform (e.g., MATLAB or PSE&rsquo;s gPROMS FormulatedProducts) in which the crystallisation process models will be implemented. In addition to the modelling, experiments will be performed in an existing laboratory-scale jacketed stirred tank crystalliser to collect crystallisation kinetics and process data for model development, validation and refinement. The crystallisation rig is well equipped with process analytical tools for in-situ/online measurements of temperature (PT-100 probe), solution concentration (UV-vis and FTIR spectrometers,&nbsp;particle counts (FBRM) and imaging (Perdix video microscopy).</p> <p><span style="font-size:12pt"><span style="text-autospace:none"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,sans-serif">___________________________</span></span></span></span></p> <p><span style="font-size:12pt"><span style="font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif"><sup><span style="font-size:14.0pt"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,sans-serif"><span style="color:black">*</span></span></span></sup><span style="font-size:11.0pt"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,sans-serif"><span style="color:black">Camacho</span></span></span><span style="font-size:11.0pt"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,sans-serif"> Corzo, D.M., Ma, C.Y., Mahmud, T. and Roberts, K.J. 2020. Digital design of batch cooling crystallisation processes: <span style="color:black">Computational fluid dynamics methodology</span> for modeling free-surface hydrodynamics in agitated crystallisers. </span></span><em><span style="font-size:11.0pt"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,sans-serif"><span style="color:black">Organic Process Research &amp; Development,</span></span></span></em><span style="font-size:11.0pt"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,sans-serif"><span style="color:black"> 24</span></span></span><span style="font-size:11.0pt"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,sans-serif"><span style="color:black">(11)</span></span></span><span style="font-size:11.0pt"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,sans-serif"><span style="color:black">, pp.2565-2582</span></span></span><span lang="EN-US" style="font-size:11.0pt"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,sans-serif">.</span></span><span style="font-size:11.0pt"><span style="font-family:&quot;Arial&quot;,sans-serif"> (<a href="" style="color:blue; text-decoration:underline"></a>)</span></span></span></span></p>

<h2 class="heading">How to apply</h2>

<p>Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the&nbsp;<a href="">University&#39;s website</a>. Please state clearly in the Planned Course of Study section that you are applying for <em><strong>PhD Chemical &amp; Process Engineering FT</strong></em> and in the research information section&nbsp;that the research degree you wish to be considered for is <em><strong>Digital design, scale-up and control of crystallisation processes</strong></em> as well as&nbsp;<a href="">Dr Tariq Mahmud</a> as your proposed supervisor.</p> <p>If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University&#39;s minimum English language requirements (below).</p> <p style="margin-bottom:11px"><em>As an international research-intensive university, we welcome students from all walks of life and from across the world. We foster an inclusive environment where all can flourish and prosper, and we are proud of our strong commitment to student education. Across all Faculties we are dedicated to diversifying our community and we welcome the unique contributions that individuals can bring, and particularly encourage applications from, but not limited to Black, Asian, people who belong to a minority ethnic community, people who identify as LGBT+ and people with disabilities. Applicants will always be selected based on merit and ability.</em></p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing">Applications will be considered on an ongoing basis. &nbsp;Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the supervisors for an informal discussion before making a formal application. &nbsp;We also advise that you apply at the earliest opportunity as the application and selection process may close early, should we receive a sufficient number of applications or that a suitable candidate is appointed.</p> <p>Please note that you must provide the following documents in support of your application by the closing date of 15 June 2023:</p> <ul> <li>Full Transcripts of all degree study or if in final year of study, full transcripts to date</li> <li>Personal Statement outlining your interest in the project</li> <li>CV</li> <li>Funding information: EPSRC Doctoral Training Studentship</li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p>

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">Entry requirements</h2>

Applicants to research degree programmes should normally have at least a first class or an upper second class British Bachelors Honours degree (or equivalent) in an appropriate discipline. The criteria for entry for some research degrees may be higher, for example, several faculties, also require a Masters degree. Applicants are advised to check with the relevant School prior to making an application. Applicants who are uncertain about the requirements for a particular research degree are advised to contact the School or Graduate School prior to making an application.

<h2 class="heading heading--sm">English language requirements</h2>

The minimum English language entry requirement for research postgraduate research study is an IELTS of 6.0 overall with at least 5.5 in each component (reading, writing, listening and speaking) or equivalent. The test must be dated within two years of the start date of the course in order to be valid. Some schools and faculties have a higher requirement.

<h2 class="heading">Funding on offer</h2>

<p>A highly competitive EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship consisting of the award of fees with a maintenance grant (currently &pound;17,668 for session 2022/23) for 3.5 years.</p> <p>This opportunity is open to all applicants. All candidates will be placed into the EPSRC Doctoral Training Partnership Studentship Competition and selection is based on academic merit.</p> <p class="MsoNoSpacing"><strong>Important:</strong>&nbsp; Any costs associated with your arrival at the University of Leeds to start your PhD including flights, immigration health surcharge/medical insurance and Visa costs are <strong>not</strong> covered under this studentship.</p> <p>Please refer to the&nbsp;<a href="">UKCISA</a>&nbsp;website for&nbsp;information regarding Fee Status for Non-UK Nationals starting from September/October 2021.</p>

<h2 class="heading">Contact details</h2>

<p>For further information about your application, please contact Doctoral College Admissions<br /> e: <a href=""></a>&nbsp;t: +44 (0)113 343 5057.</p> <p>For further information about this project, please contact Dr Tariq Mahmud<br /> e:&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p>

<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked funding opportunities</h3>
<h3 class="heading heading--sm">Linked research areas</h3>