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Microbubbles as Heterogeneous Nucleation Sites for Crystallization in Continuous Microfluidic Devices

Cite this: Langmuir 2019, 35, 1, 60–69
Publication Date (Web):December 10, 2018
Copyright © 2018 American Chemical Society

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    Abstract Image

    Injecting a stream of microbubbles and thereby introducing a heterogeneous interface is proposed for enhancing nucleation and controlling particle formation in continuous microfluidic devices. Different gas and liquid flow rates were investigated to establish the two-phase flow regime map and to identify the optimum characteristics for microbubble flow. Subsequently, the effect of microbubbles was studied for the cooling crystallization of paracetamol. An enhanced nucleation rate compared to that in the operation without bubbles was observed and the presence of microbubbles results in the formation of more crystals, which indicates that nucleation is faster than that in operation without bubbles, i.e., the metastable zone width is reduced. Determining the crystal yield confirmed that a larger mass of crystals is obtained in a two-phase flow with microbubbles. Furthermore, results showed that the presence of microbubbles allows crystallizing continuously without clogging of the microreactor.

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    The Supporting Information is available free of charge on the ACS Publications website at DOI: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.8b03183.

    • Flow regime map and details for the calculation of the temperature and supersaturation profiles along the reactor (PDF)

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