Michael Svärd is docent (reader / associate professor) in chemical engineering. His main expertise is in the general area of separation processes, with particular focus on crystallization: crystal nucleation, growth, polymorphism and thermodynamics of solid-liquid phase equilibria.
Currently active fields of research:
Fundamental, underlying mechanisms of crystal nucleation from solution, with focus on organic compounds. What is the role of solute clusters in the process of nucleation, in particular for the competition between possible crystal phases? Involved in two projects on this topic:
1. CLUSTER (2020-2023) Project manager. This work explores non-classical pathways to primary nucleation of organic molecular crystals from solution, and the role of clusters in solution. The work is financed by Vetenskapsrådet - the Swedish Research Council (grant no. 2019-05059.)
2. SSPC P4 - Crystallization kinetics (2020- ) Associate collaborator. This is a project within the Materials-theme of the Synthesis and Solid State Pharmaceutical research Centre (SSPC) in Ireland.
Modelling the thermodynamics of solid-liquid phase equilibria (solubility) and the supersaturated state (the driving force for nucleation and growth of crystals) - for simple binary systems, polymorphic systems and multi-component (co-crystal) systems. Semi-empirical models for the ideal solubility and activity coefficients in solutions at saturation and supersaturation are developed based on experimental calorimetric and solubility data.
Hydrometallurgical separation and recovery of metals. This umbrella covers various projects aimed towards sustainable resource recovery. All these projects are carried out in collaboration with Kerstin Forsberg.
1. REEform (2020-2022) Project manager. This project explores separation and recovery of rare earth elements (REE), notably neodymium, using extraction chromatography and antisolvent crystallization. Waste sources targeted include NdFeB magnets, NiMH batteries or mining waste. Funded by Formas (grant no. 2019-01150.)
2. PERLI (2019-2021) Within this project, we are investigating eutectic freeze crystallization (EFC) as an energy-saving technique for recovery of metals (Co, Ni and Mn) from spent Li-ion batteries. Funded by STEM - The Swedish Energy Agency. Another project specifically targeting EFC was recently granted funding by Formas. This project will start in 2021. The work on EFC is carried out in collaboration with the Crystallization and Precipitation Unit at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
3. ANTISOLVO (2021-2023) Work package leader. A collaboration project involving KTH, KU Leuven, Belgium, and Jozef Stefan Institute, Slovenia. The work includes exploring antisolvent precipitation of rare earth elements from leach solutions of spent NdFeB magnets. Funded by ERA-MIN2.
4. SCALE (2016-) An EU-funded collaboration project involving a PhD student at KTH investigating recovery of scandium by crystallization.
5. Green recycling of battery materials by deep eutectic solvents (2020-2022), a recently inaugurated collaboration project with Uppsala University. Funded by STEM - The Swedish Energy Agency.