Postgraduate research opportunities Understanding and scale up of secondary nucleation in pharmaceutical crystallisation


Key facts

  • Opens: Friday 3 February 2023
  • Number of places: 1
  • Duration: 3 years


This project aims at understanding and controlling secondary nucleation which plays a key role in many industrial crystallisation processes, bridging the gap from fundamental science to manufacturing processes, facilitating scale-up and process design of pharmaceutical crystallisation.
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Students applying should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum 2.1 undergraduate degree in a relevant engineering/science discipline, and be highly motivated to undertake multidisciplinary research.

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Project Details

Nucleation of crystals from solution is a crucial part of many manufacturing processes in industries including pharmaceuticals, foods, chemicals and advanced materials. Nevertheless, despite many years of detailed study, nucleation remains poorly understood at the fundamental as well as the practical application level.

This project aims at understanding and controlling secondary nucleation which plays a key role in many industrial crystallisation processes. Secondary nucleation is formation of new crystals in presence pre-existing crystals in a crystallisation process. This project aims at furthering our understanding of how secondary nucleation works and can be optimised at scales relevant to industrial pharmaceutical manufacturing. There are two major physical aspects of the crystallisation process that become important under manufacturing conditions but whose effects on crystal nucleation and growth are not well understood: firstly, the effect of the turbulent flow typical for industrial scale processes; and secondly the effect of mechanical impact of existing crystals in typical agitated vessel used in manufacturing plants. The project will contribute both fundamental insight into crystal behaviour and phenomenology, and progress in advanced industrial manufacturing methods for scale up and process design.

In addition to undertaking cutting edge research, students are also registered for the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Development (PGCert), which is a supplementary qualification that develops a student’s skills, networks and career prospects.

Information about the host department can be found by visiting:

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Professor Jan Sefcik

Head Of Department
Chemical and Process Engineering

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Dr Mark Haw

Senior Lecturer
Chemical and Process Engineering

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Number of places: 1

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Chemical and Process Engineering

Programme: Chemical and Process Engineering

Start date: Oct 2023 - Sep 2024

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