10-05/06 :: May/June 2010
nanotimes EU-Projects Path to the Perfect Crystal
A European project Sinc-pro has developed a blue- print for model predictive control of crystal pro- duction. Industry will find it easier to measure up to the demands for the correct dimensions of a crystal during mass production.
The European funded project Sinc-pro aimed to iron out the discrepancies in crystallisation using availa- ble commercial tools. To do this, they validated the use of model-based decision support to give uniform crystals. Properties crucial for optimum performance are size, colour and refractive index or angle of light as it passes from the crystal.
Trials were done at all levels – from the laboratory to the pilot and then on to the production scale. Overall, the Sinc-pro researchers determined when and where it was most wise to apply the automatic process activators.
Case studies involved different crystals including am- monium sulphate, used as a fertiliser, and dextrose, a food additive. In the trials, measurement techniques were shown to be strongly dependent on the crystal type.
A blueprint was prepared on the basis of the results of the tests. The model for application of measure- ment techniques does not give a single recipe for optimal crystal production. The plan overall gives more useful guidelines as to the range of measure- ment techniques that can be applied at any point in the production line. The development of a generic optimisation framework and the use of commercial- ly available tools holds many advantages. The same
model can be used for simulation, experimental design as well as product quality control.
Contact: KRAMER, Herman (Lic.), Delft University of Technology, NL, 44 Leeghwaterstraat 44, P.O. Box 05, 2628 CA, Netherlands, Phone: +31-15-2781500: h t t p : / / w w w . 3me . t u d e l f t . n l / l i v e / p a g i -
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Ultrasound Cleaning Improves Membrane Efficiency
The use of ultrasound (US) for cleaning bio-memb- rane filters contaminated with organic material was investigated by the Agroiwatech project. Resear- chers combined membrane technology with activa- ted sludge treatment to remove organic matter from wastewater.
The Agroiwatech project investigated the use of US for cleaning membranes while still in the system to improve their efficiency. This technology has a lower environmental impact than conventional techniques because it uses fewer chemicals and less energy. The consortium studied different membranes with test substances at different US frequencies to determine the flux rate compared to pressure. Researchers selected one membrane in particular for further study, subjecting it to US at a frequency of 15.5 KHz. Results showed that US did not damage the memb- rane and improved the flux rate. However, after nine