Investigation of metastable zones and induction times in glycine crystallisation across three different antisolvents

Lennart A. I. Ramakers, John McGinty, Wolfgang Beckmann, Guillaume Levilain, Mei Lee, Helen Wheatcroft, Ian Houson, Jan Sefcik

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21 Citations (Scopus)
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Experimental data on the effects that different antisolvents and antisolvent addition strategies have on nucleation behavior in antisolvent crystallization is very limited, and our understanding of these effects is sparse. In this work we measured the metastable zone width for the isothermal antisolvent crystallization of glycine from water utilizing methanol, ethanol, and dimethylformamide as antisolvents. We then investigated induction times for glycine crystallization across these metastable zones using the same three antisolvents. Supersaturated solutions were prepared by mixing of an antisolvent with undersaturated aqueous glycine solutions, either by batch rapid addition or using a continuous static mixer. Induction times were then recorded under agitated isothermal conditions in small vials with the use of webcam imaging and vary from apparently instant to thousands of seconds over a range of compositions and different mixing modes. Well-defined induction times were detected across most of the metastable zone, which shows that primary nucleation is significant at supersaturations much lower than those identified in conventional metastable zone width measurements. As supersaturation increases toward the metastable zone limit, crystal growth and secondary nucleation are likely to become rate-limiting factors in the observed induction times for antisolvent crystallization. Furthermore, the observed induction times were strongly dependent on the mode of mixing (batch rapid addition vs continuous static mixing), which demonstrates an interplay of antisolvent effects on nucleation with their effects on mixing, leading to crossover of mixing and nucleation time scales. This shows that appropriate mixing strategies are crucial for the rational development of robust scalable antisolvent crystallization processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4935-4944
Number of pages10
JournalCrystal Growth and Design
Issue number8
Early online date25 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 5 Aug 2020


  • nucleation behavior
  • antisolvent crystallization
  • supersaturated solutions
  • crystal growth


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