James D. Litster

Professor of Chemical Engineering
Professor of Industrial and Physical Pharmacy

Purdue University
School of Chemical Engineering
Forney Hall of Chemical Engineering
480 Stadium Mall Drive
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2100
(765) 496-2836 (office)
(765) 494-0805 (fax)
Joined Purdue in 2007
BE Chemical Engineering, University of Queensland, 1979
PhD Chemical Engineering, University of Queensland, 1985

Research Interests

Particle Design and Formulation Group

My research interests are in the area of Particle Technology, particularly particle design and formulation. Particle design is the production of novel particles with specific attributes. These attributes are controlled by the size, morphology and surface properties of the particles that are produced. To control these attributes, both the particle formation processes and the feed formulation properties need to be controlled. The products of interest are many and varied, including proteins and other biological materials, pharmaceuticals, detergents and consumer goods, food, ceramics and high value materials, fertilizers and agricultural chemicals, and minerals.

My major research area is granulation and agglomeration. The research is targeted at several levels:
  • Particle level - Prediction of the behaviour of partially saturated bulk powders and granules from understanding of the particle-particle and particle-binder interactions in the granule;
  • Rate process level - Mapping of regimes of operation for the key rate processes in granulation - wetting and nucleation, growth and consolidation, breakage and attrition and the development of mathematical models for these processes.
  • Unit operation and granulation circuit level - Development of scale-up rules for granulation processes. This includes simulation, optimization and control of continuous granulation circuits.

Our research group is recognized as a world leader in this research area and in the last 10 years we have helped move granulation processes from a 'black art' to quantitative engineering. Our approaches are now widely used in engineering practice in industry, especially the pharmaceutical industry. Current research projects in this area are:
  • Multiscale modeling of granulation processes;
  • Regime mapping and quantitative modeling of wet granule breakage in granulators;
  • Characterization of cohesive powder flows in a mixer granulator;
  • Design of regime separated granulators for continuous granulation.;

My second major research area is the recovery and delivery of bioactives, particularly by crystallization and precipitation. Our targets here are large bioactive molecules (including proteins) from fermentation broths, food processing, and waste streams. These products are of growing importance as pharmaceuticals, food additives, and biocatalysts and their efficient recovery and presentation for use and delivery is a key industrial issue. My current projects in this area are:
  • Fundamental studies of the secondary nucleation of proteins;
  • Crystallization of proteins from protein mixtures;
  • Microfluidic crystallization for particle design;
  • Precipitation and liquid-liquid separation of soy proteins.

Research Group

Graduate Students

  • Kaoutar Abbou Oucherif
  • Nathan B. Davis
  • Nathan J. Davis
  • Jennifer Lu
  • Daniel Pohlman
  • Ridade Sayin

Awards and Honors

2005 Australian Award for University Teaching (Project Centred Curriculum in Chemical Engineering)
2004 Australasian Association of Engineering Education Award for Teaching Excellence (PCC in Chemical Engineering)
2003 Elected Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers
2003 University of Queensland Award for Enhancement of Student Learning (Project Centred Curriculum in Chemical Engineering)
1998 Orica Award for outstanding service to Chemical Engineering Education and the Profession in Australia
1994 The University of Queensland Special Commendation for Teaching Excellence
1993 Physical Sciences and Engineering Group Teaching Excellence Award The University of Queensland
1990 Inaugural Sawamara Award for the best original paper in the journal ISIJ International in 1989.
1980 The University of Queensland Medal

Selected Publications


Litster, JD, and Ennis, BJ, (2004). The Science and Engineering of Granulation Processes, Kluwer Powder Technology Series, B. Scarlett (ed.).

Book Chapters

Hapgood, K.,, Iveson, SM, Litster, JD, and Liu, L.X., (2008). Chapter 20 Granulation Rate Processes in Handbook of Powder Technology v.11 Granulation, Salman, A.J., Hounslow, M.J. and Seville, J.P.K (eds), Elsevier

He, Y, Liu, LX and Litster JD, (2009). Chapter 16 Scale-up Consideration in Granulation, In Handbook of Pharmaceutical Granulation Technology (3rd Edition, D.M. Parikh Ed.),. Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York.

Snow, RH, Allen, T, Ennis, B.J. and Litster, JD, (2009). Section 20 Size Reduction and Size Enlargement In Perrys Ch'emical Engineers Handbook, D. Green (ed.), MacGraw-Hill, (98pp).

Journal Articles

“Experimental Validation of a 2-D Population Balance Model for Spray Coating Processes,” J. Li, B. Freireich, C. Wassgren, and J. D. Litster, Chem Eng Sci, DOI: 10.1016/j.ces.2012.02.036 (2012)

“Growth Rates of Ibuprofen Crystals Grown From Ethanol and Aqueous Ethanol,” A. Rashid, E. T. White, T. Howes, J. D. Litster, and I. Marziano, Chemical Engineering R&D, 90, 158-161 (2012)

“Examining the failure modes of wet granular materials using dynamic diametrical compression,” R. M. Smith, and J. D. Litster, Powder Technology, in press (2012)

“Crystallization Kinetics of Ibuprofen from Ethanol and Aqueous Ethanol,” A. Rashid, E. T. White, T. Howes, J. D. Litster, and I. Marziano, Chemical Engineering Transactions, 24, 631-636 (2011)

“Granule Formation Mechanisms and Morphology from Single Drop Impact on Powder Beds,” H. Emady, D. Kayrak-Talay, W. Schwerin, and J. D. Litster, Powder Technology, 212(1), 69-79 (2011)

"A priori Performance Prediction in Pharmaceutical Wet Granulation: Testing the Applicability of the Nucleation Regime Map to a Formulation with a Broad Size Distribution and Dry Binder Addition,” D. Kayrak-Talay, and J. D. Litster, International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 418, 254-264 (2011)

“A Compartmental Approach to Studying Particle Motion in Mixers Using Discrete Element Modeling,” B. Freireich, J. Li, J. D. Litster, Wassgren, Chemical Engineering Science, 66(16), 3592-3604 (2011)

“Correlation of Second Virial Coefficient with Solubility for Proteins in Salt Solutions,” C. M. Mehta, E. T. White, and J. D. Litster, Biotechnology Progress, on line, DOI 10.1002/btpr.724 (2011)

“Modeling the Powder Roll Compaction Process: Comparison of 2-D Finite Element Method and the Rolling Theory for Granular Solids (Johanson's model),” A. R. Muliadi, J. D. Litster, and C. R. Wassgren, Powder Technology, on line, DOI: 10.1016/j.powtec.2011.12.001 (2011)

“A General Compartment-Based Population Balance Model for Particle Coating and Layered Granulation,” J. Li, B. Freireich, C. Wassgren, and J. D. Litster, AIChE J, DOI: 10.1002/aic.12678 (2011)