Drowning-out crystallisation of benzoic acid : Influence of processing conditions and solvent composition on crystal size and shape

University dissertation from Stockholm : Kemiteknik

Abstract: The aim of the present investigation is to increase theunderstanding of the role played by the solvent in inhibitingor enhancing crystal growth. Drowning-out crystallizationexperiments has been performed by the controlled addition ofwater or ethanol water mixtures to a saturated solution ofbenzoic acid in ethanol-water mixtures. Crystal habitcontrolling factors have been identified.Seededcrystallization experiments have been carried out to evaluatethe effect of solvent composition on crystal habit at constantsupersaturation. The solubility of benzoic acid inethanol-water mixtures at the working temperatures has beendetermined.Electro-zone sensing determinations and microscopicmeasurements are used to characterize the final crystallineproduct. It has been found that the shape of the benzoic acidcrystals grown from ethanol-water solutions ranges from needlesto platelets. Platy particles possess a predominant basal plane(001), bound by (010) and (100) faces, while needles aredeveloped along the b-axis. Long needle-shaped particles havebeen produced at low initial bulk concentration and highethanol concentration in the feed. Small platelets are obtainedat high initial bulk concentrations and high waterconcentration in the feed.The effect of solvent composition on the growth rate hasbeen evaluated at constant supersaturation. Seed crystals arecharacterized by image analysis measurement both before andafter each experiment. Length and width dimensions have beenmeasured on the particle silhouette. The growth rate, thesolid-liquid interfacial energy and the surface entropy factorfor the (010) faces (length dimension) and (100) faces (widthdimension) have been estimated. The interfacial energy andsurface entropy factor decreases in the direction of increasingethanol concentration due to increasing solubility.The results suggest that at low ethanol concentration(xEtOH<60%) growth proceeds by screw dislocation mechanism,and adsorption of ethanol molecules may reduce the growth rate.As the ethanol concentration increases above a critical value(xEtOH ≥60%), the growth mechanism shifts to surfacenucleation and the growth rate increases with increasingethanol concentration. It has been suggested that the observedeffect of the solvent composition on crystal habit is theresult of two conflicting effects here referred as the kineticand interfacial energy effects. High interactions of the pairethanol-benzoic acid seem to be responsible of the growthretardation (kinetic effect) exerted by the solvent. On theother hand, increased ethanol concentration leads to reduceinterfacial energy and increasing surface nucleation whichmight contribute to enhance growth kinetics.Keywords:drowning-out crystallisation, solventcomposition, benzoic acid, solubility, crystal growth,interfacial energy, surface entropy factor, growth mechanism,crystal shape distribution.

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