Zoltan Nagy

Professor of Chemical Engineering

Purdue University
School of Chemical Engineering
Forney Hall of Chemical Engineering
480 Stadium Mall Drive
West Lafayette, IN 47907-2100
(765) 494-0734 (office)
(765) 494-0805 (fax)
Joined Purdue in 2012
B.S. Babes-Bolyai University, Romania, 1994
Ph.D. Babes-Bolyai University, Romania, 2001

Research Interests

Professor Nagy’s research is characterized by the development and application of process systems engineering approaches and tools for engineered product design and optimal process operation, with applications in pharmaceutical, fine chemical, biotechnology, food and agrochemical industries. Our research combines modeling, optimization and advanced control approaches with experimental investigations using modern measurement techniques, with the generic aim to develop theoretically founded, practical methodologies for complex processes with quantifiable system performance improvements that can be supported in an industrial environment.

Crystallization Systems Engineering (CrySys)
The recent development in my group in the combination of multidimensional population balance modeling approaches and practical robust control techniques for better crystal engineering, enables the design and optimal production of particulate products with tailored properties and significantly reduced variability in quality. We develop novel control approaches that allow the control of size and shape distribution, polymorphic form and purity of crystals. These techniques are based on using complex mathematical models to predict the final product quality and perform optimization of the operating conditions so that the best product quality, such as highest purity and therapeutic efficiency, can be achieved in minimum time and cost. In addition to the model-based approaches, model-free control techniques for a variety of continuous and batch crystallization processes are also developed and evaluated in our Crystallization Systems Engineering laboratory. These are based on the direct use of a variety of process analytical technologies (PAT) and provide rapid design and scale-up approaches for crystallization systems. These techniques are investigated across broad scales, from microfluidic and droplet crystallization systems to large scale industrial processes.

Control for intelligent manufacturing systems of particulates
We develop model-based simultaneous design and control techniques for integrated process systems that consider the entire sequence of unit operation for particulate production, and aim to lead to intensified, energy efficient processes. The control relevant investigation of the batch to continuous paradigm shift in manufacturing of solid products is also in the focus of our research.

Process Analytical Technologies and Composite Sensor Arrays
Within this research, combined measurement techniques are developed to achieve robust control approaches for the simultaneous control of several product properties using combined model-based and statistical modeling techniques. These approaches are experimentally investigated currently for batch and continuous crystallization systems, using our intelligent decision support and control software, the Crystallization Process Informatics System (CryPRINS). Some of these research themes are developed in cooperation with the University of Loughborough and the Innovative Manufacturing Research Center in Continuous Manufacturing and Crystallization from the UK.

Research Group

Graduate Students

  • David Acevedo
  • Elcin Icten (co-advised with Professor Reklaitis)
  • Bradley Ridder
  • Yang Yang

Awards and Honors

2011 - 3rd place "The innovator of the year award" of the 2011 IChemE Awards for Innovations and Excellence.
2010 - Runner up for the "The innovator of the year award" of the 2010 IChemE Awards for Innovations and Excellence.
2010 - Elected Member of the European Federation of Chemical Engineering (EFChE) Crystallisation Working Party.
2009 - "Chemical Research Collaboration Success Award", Council for Chemical Research, USA, for the work "Process Analytical Technology for Pharmaceutical Crystallization" in collaboration with R.D. Braatz group, UIUC.
2008 - "Tudor Tanasescu Award of the Romanian Academy of Science"
2008 - "Journal of Process Control Best Paper Award"
2008 - "Control Engineering Practice Best Paper Award"
2008 - 18th European Symposium on Computer Aided Process Engineering Best Paper Award
2007 - Royal Academy of Engineering and ExxonMobile Excellence in Teaching Award.
2005 - "IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology Outstanding Paper Award"
2003 - Automatica Outstanding Reviewer Award.
2012 - Associate Editor, Asia-Pacific Journal of Chemical Engineering
2011 - Associate Editor, Journal of Process Control.
2008 - Associate Editor, Control Engineering Practice.
2007 - Subject Editor (Pharmaceutical Engineering), Chemical Engineering Research and Design.

Selected Publications

"Advances and new directions in crystallization control", Z. K. Nagy, R. D. Braatz, Annu. Rev. Chem. Biomol. Eng., 3, 55-75 (2012).

"Systematic design of supersaturation controlled crystallization processes for shaping the crystal size distribution using an analytical estimator", Z. K. Nagy, E. Aamir, Chemical Engineering Science, 84, 656-670 (2012).

"Experimental evaluation of the targeted direct design of temperature trajectories for growth dominated crystallisation processes using an analytical crystal size distribution estimator", E. Aamir, C.D. Rielly, Z. K. Nagy, Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., (2012) in press.

"Real-time control of industrial batch crystallization processes using a population balance modeling framework", A. Mesbah, Z. K. Nagy, A. E. M. Huesman, H. J.M. Kramer, P. M. J. Van den Hof, IEEE Transaction on Control Systems Technologies, 20, 1188-1201 (2012).

"Comparative investigation of supersaturation and automatic direct nucleation control of crystal size distributions using ATR-UV/Vis spectroscopy and FBRM", A. N. Saleemi, C. D. Rielly, Z. K. Nagy, Crystal Growth and Design, 12, 1792-1807 (2012).

"Enhancing crystalline properties of a cardiovascular active pharmaceutical ingredient using a Process Analytical Technology based crystallization feedback control strategy", A. N. Saleemi, G. Steele, N. Pedge, A. Freeman, Z. K. Nagy, International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 430, 56-64 (2012).

"Monitoring of the combined cooling and antisolvent crystallization of mixtures of aminobenzoic acid isomers using ATR-UV/Vis spectroscopy and FBRM", A. N. Saleemi, C. D. Rielly, Z. K. Nagy, Chemical Engineering Science, 77, 122-129 (2012).

"Real-time control of seeded batch crystallization processes", A. Mesbah, A. E. M. Huesman, H. J. M. Kramer, Z. K. Nagy, P. M. J. Van den Hof, AICHE J., 57, 1557-1569 (2011).

"Optimal seed recipe design for crystal size distribution control for batch cooling crystallization processes", E. Aamir, Z. K. Nagy, C. D. Rielly, Chemical Engineering Science, 65, 3602-3614 (2010).

"Model based robust control approach for batch crystallization product design", Z. K. Nagy, Computers and Chemical Engineering, 33, 1685-1691 (2009).

"Combined quadrature method of moments and method of characteristics approach for efficient solution of population balance models for dynamic modelling and crystal size distribution control of crystallization processes", E. Aamir, Z. K. Nagy, C. D. Rielly, T. Kleinert, B. Judat, Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 48, 8575-8584 (2009).