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
  • Mariana Moreno (co-advised with Gintaras Reklaitis)
  • Ramon Pena
  • 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

"The Impact of Different Preparation Modes on Enhancing the Undergraduate Process Control Engineering Laboratory – a Comparative Study," M. Abdulwahed, and Z. K. Nagy, Computer Applications in Engineering Education, 22(1), 110-119 (2014)

"Physical Characterization of Silica-treated Shea Stearin," G. Talbat, K. W. Smith, K. Bhaggan, J. Ray, Z. K. Nagy, and A. G. F. Stapley, Lipid Technology, 26(4), 83-86 (2014)

"Characterization of High 1,3-Distearoyl-2-oleyl-sn-glycerol Content Stearins Produced by Acidolysis of High Oleic Sunflower Oil with Stearic and Palmitic Acids," J. Ray, K. W. Smith, K. Bhaggan, Z. K. Nagy, and A. G. F. Stapley, European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology, 116, 532-547 (2014)

"Application of Quantitative Raman Spectroscopy for the Monitoring of Polymorphic Transformation in Crystallization Processes Using a Good Calibration Practice Procedure," E. Simone, A. N. Saleemi, and Z. K. Nagy, Chemical Engineering Research and Design, 92, 594-611(2014)

"Active Polymorphic Feedback Control of Crystallization Processes Using a Combined Raman and ATR-UV/Vis Spectroscopy Approach," E. Simone, A. N. Saleemi, and Z. K. Nagy, Crystal Growth and Design, 14(4), 1839-1850 (2014)

"Ramon, UV, NIR, and Mid-IR Spectroscopy with Focused Beam Reflectance Measurement in Monitoring Polymorphic Transformations," E. Simone, A. N. Saleemi, and Z. K. Nagy, Chemical Engineering & Technology, 37(8), 1305-1313 (2014)

"Model-based Systematic Design Approach for Combined Cooling and Antisolvent Crystallization (CCAC) Systems," Y. Yang, and Z. K. Nagy, Crystal Growth and Design, 14(2), 687-698 (2014)

"Systematic Classification of Unseeded Batch Crystallization Systems for Achievable Shape and Size Analysis," D. Acevedo, and Z. K. Nagy, Journal of Crystal Growth, 394, 97-105 (2014)