HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at Paris, France or Virtually from your home or work.

4th Edition of

Chemistry World Conference

June 17-19, 2024 | Paris, France

Chemistry 2023

Ruaraidh Wells

Speaker at Chemistry World Conference 2023 - Ruaraidh Wells
NiTech Solutions, United Kingdom
Title : Continuous crystallization of energetic materials using continuous oscillatory baffled crystalliser


Energetic materials such as explosives and solid propellants are typically manufactured in batch processes. Poor heat and mass transfers in batch vessels can lead to products produced with significant batch-to-batch variations, including inconsistent purity and wide particle size distributions, limiting final product performance. Reshoring or upgrading production capability presents unique opportunities to adopt continuous flow manufacturing methods which are safer, greener, more efficient, use less energy, and have lower cost. Crystallisation is a critical purification and isolation step in energetics manufacture as it influences solid purity, morphology, particle shape and crystal size, all of which have a direct impact on the performance and functionality of the explosive or propellant. In this presentation, we report the first successful demonstrations of continuous crystallisation of two energetic materials, ammonium perchlorate (AP) and nitrotriazolone (NTO), using NiTech’s continuous oscillatory baffled crystalliser (COBC) technology. It has been demonstrated that AP and NTO can be continuously crystallised and product properties can be manipulated through varying processing conditions, giving consistent and tuneable particle size. High throughput has also been demonstrated with multiple kilograms of dry material produced per hour in a small footprint system. The feasibility, capability and benefits of continuous crystallisation in energetic materials manufacturing have been demonstrated and are ready to be scaled up to production operations, as well as to incorporate continuous synthesis prior to crystallisation using one continuous system.

Audience Take Away:

  • Crystallisation is a critical step in the manufacturing of energetic materials, controls crystal purity, morphology, shape, size and its functionality. Traditional batch systems suffer batch to batch variations, with significant challenges in scaling up, safety and waste generation. Continuous crystallisation of energetics is an elegant solution in comparison to traditional operations, delivering consistent crystal properties, reducing factory space, energy/solvent utilizations, waste generation and making the process much safer and greener. The audience would be able to learn from our work and apply continuous crystallisation in energetics.
  • This research also offers a new tool for expanding audience’s research, manufacturing as well as teaching.
  • This work provides a practical solution to a problem in chemical, pharmaceutical and food industries, making crystallisation processes more efficient, safer, greener and cheaper.
  • The continuous crystallizer is a new device, helps the design, operation and maintenance of traditional crystallisers.


Ruaraidh completed his master’s degree in chemistry at the University of Glasgow. Since graduating he has gained 5 years’ experience in product and process development roles in industrial chemistry. As a Process Development Chemist at NiTech Solutions, Ruaraidh has been involved in R&D project management and execution, as well as client technology transfer projects. Through this experience he has in-depth knowledge in the application of NiTech reactors and crystallizers specifically for energetic materials manufacturing, as well as within the fine chemical and pharmaceutical sectors.