Population balance modelling of zirconia nanoparticles in supercritical water hydrothermal synthesis

Document Type: Research Article


1 Chemical Engineering Department, Faculty of Engineering, University of Kashan, Kashan, Iran

2 Material and Nuclear Fuel Research School, Nuclear Science and Technology Research Institute, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Chemical Engineering, Engineering Faculty, University of Kashan, Kashan, Iran


As any other precipitation process, in supercritical water hydrothermal synthesis (SWHS), the need to improve product quality and minimize production cost requires understanding and optimization of particle size distribution (PSD). In this work, using population balance equation (PBE) containing nucleation and growth terms, the reactive precipitation of zirconia nanoparticles prepared by SWHS in batch reactor was modeled. An optimization method using genetic algorithm function in MATLAB environment was developed to find simultaneously the kinetic parameters of nucleation and crystal growth rates, used for predicting PSD in PBE. The methodology developed evaluated kinetic parameters at comparable order of magnitudes to those presented in the literature, indicating a reasonable validation of the modeling method adopted. PSD results however, showed a weak convergence of experimental and those predicted, suggesting that here, aggregation most likely played a considerable role in the PBE modeling of SWHS preparation of the zirconia nanoparticles.


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