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

Ramakers, Lennart A. I. and McGinty, John and Beckmann, Wolfgang and Levilain, Guillaume and Lee, Mei and Wheatcroft, Helen and Houson, Ian and Sefcik, Jan (2020) Investigation of metastable zones and induction times in glycine crystallisation across three different antisolvents. Crystal Growth and Design, 20 (8). pp. 4935-4944. ISSN 1528-7483 (

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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.