ROI Turbulent

Controlling Morphology and Particle
Size in Continuous
Energetic Material Processes


SAVED $900,000

The Process
Reactive and continuous crystallization process for energetic materials

The Problem
Maintaining particle size distribution and morphology during a continuous manufacturing process

The Task
Develop a continuous manufacturing process for producing energetic materials with a desired particle size distribution and morphology

The Traditional Approach
Running the process in a pilot at different degrees of mixing and retention times in order to achieve desired particle size distribution and morphology.

The VisiMix Analysis
VisiMix was able to efficiently simulate the degree of mixing influence on solid suspension and predict challenges associated with specific equipment geometries.
The ability to simulate the distribution of solids in the process as a function of mixing parameters eliminated trial-and-error experiments in the pilot. The appropriate equipment (impeller design, tank design) and operating parameters (rpm, feed rates) were identified using in-silico methods, avoiding trial and error. This method saved significant time and money and enabled developing a process that produced the desired particle size, distribution, and morphology.

The VisiMix Solution
VisiMix predicted that the existing equipment and operating parameters were not satisfactory to suspend the solids resulting from the continuous, reactive crystallization. Changing the design of the equipment (type and number of impellers) and the operating parameters (increased rpm) resulted in a process that created the desired particle size distribution and morphology.

The Results
Each project has unique requirements, including number of synthetic steps, labor, and associated operating costs. In the development stage, starting material costs are often quite high (typically thousands of dollars per kilogram). A trial-and-error approach could have cost over $50,000 in materials alone, with an estimated $60,000 in labor. The modeling approach reduced overall development costs by 60%, extrapolated to cost savings of $900,000 for a 10-step process.

Technical Description

Process:
Reactive and continuous crystallization process for energetic materials
Task:
Develop a continuous manufacturing process for producing energetic materials with a desired particle size distribution and morphology
The Challenge:
Improper pilot scale design led to particles of a much larger size and morphology than originally seen in the lab-scale proof of concept.
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Lab-scale (inset) vs. Pilot-scaleThe solution involved VisiMix Modeling
Modeling the specific pilot-scale configuration showed that the impellers were not adequately sized and that the rpm was too low to suspend the solids and increase the average concentration of solid phase in the continuous flow.
These improvements led to the desired particle size distribution and morphology.
Our customer was satisfied with the result obtained by VisiMix.
Design of Equipment:
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10“Chemical engineering is not magic! It is a science that assists the team in designing processes that work in the equipment to which you will produce your product.”
ROI2
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THE USE OF VisiMix ALLOWS US:
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1.Control the polymorphism of the material during the reactive crystallization stage
2.Solve the problem in advance, making scale-up possible

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