Characterisation of High Shear Mixers for Process Development

Loughborough University

Department of Chemical Engineering

Project Description

High shear mixers (rotor-stators, ultrasonicators, high pressure jets) are used for dispersion processes. Liquid-liquid dispersions (emulsification), deagglomeration (breakup of fine powder clusters) are some examples of such processes common to a wide range of industrial products from food to personal or health care. The high levels of local energy dissipation rate (close to the rotor-stator head or the sonotrode) make such devices suitable for dispersion processes. The product quality depends on both the breakup performance of these devices and the homogeneity achieved within the bulk as breakage would typically occur locally. It is also common to have significant changes in the dispersion rheology during the course of the dispersion process: a highly non-Newtonian behaviour may develop during emulsification or the delamination of layered structures or the pre-dispersion rheology, i.e. prior to deagglomeration may be complex. This would have severe effects on the overall bulk flow and hence homogeneity.

This project will aim to study the flow (flow patterns and overall homogeneity) and power characteristics of high shear mixers. The study will build on the previous work of the supervisor and make use of bench scale high shear process devices- a selection of rotor-stator designs and an ultrasonicator- in both batch and re-circulation mode. The objectives will be to establish the flow and power characteristics of such devices in liquids of a range of rheological properties and how the flow established may have an effect on dispersion processes, demonstrating this with case studies of emulsification and deagglomeration.

The knowledge developed will provide guidelines for industrial practice applicable to a wide range of products. You will have the opportunity to make use of a range of devices and analytical techniques. The knowledge and skills developed should enhance your employability in a wide range of industries.

It is anticipated that there will be the opportunity to present and discuss findings during international conferences and also network with other researchers in the field.

Funding Information

This is an open call for candidates who are sponsored or who have their own funding. If you do not have funding, you may still apply, however Institutional funding is not guaranteed. Outstanding candidates (UK/EU/International) without funding will be considered for funding opportunities which may become available in the School.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants should hold a degree in chemical engineering or a related discipline with at least a 2:1 (or an expected 2:1). Other relevant experience should also be highlighted in the application.

Application Process

All applications should be made online via the following link – Apply Now. Under school/department name, select ‘Chemical Engineering’. Please quote reference GOTCG035.

The deadline for applications is 1st October 2020.

Supplementary Information

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF, 2014) and an outstanding 66% of the work of Loughborough’s academic staff who were eligible to be submitted to the REF was judged as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, compared to a national average figure of 43%.

In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career.

Find out more here: Student Support

To apply for this PhD, please use the following application link: