Project Details


1350152 - RamachandranThe overall goal of this proposal is to develop an integrated research and educational program centered around the interface of Particle Technology and Process Systems Engineering (PSE). The fields of particle technology and PSE are often asynchronous with limited interactions and inter- facing between them. From a research perspective, this is evidenced by the application of PSE to primarily only chemical, biological and energy systems. From an educational perspective, students are typically trained in either PSE or particle technology with limited overlap in training between the two fields. These factors motivate the need for a new research and educational paradigm termed Particulate Process Systems Engineering (PPSE). PPSE represents a systems engineering approach to the understanding and design of multi-scale particulate processes for their overall practical application in particulate-based industries. Within this theme, the overall research objective of this proposal is to quantitatively understand, design and optimize the interactions between material properties, process parameters, chemical reaction and transport phenomena to predict product performance of particulate materials for a class of reactive-particulate processes known as reactive granulation. The educational aims are designed to integrate the research findings of this project to instill a methodology combined with assessment and evaluation to equip graduating students at the interface of particulate technology and PSE focusing on 1) incorporating aspects of PPSE in the senior design course and 2) raising awareness of PPSE via outreach activities.Intellectual merits: The proposal is aimed at studying the challenging multi-scale aspects of reactive granulation processes and is synergistically integrated with high-performance computing and optimization strategies to enable the multi-scale model to be practically utilized by industrial companies for granulation process design and optimization at scale-up. The project should result in better scientific understanding of the coupling between chemical reaction and particle-wetting, and the systematic integration of different models and model forms across multiple lengths and time scales. The work should also lead to a quantitative methodology to optimally operate industrial granulation processes at scale-up. The PI expects this project to yield key advances that bridge the gap between PSE and particle technology, resulting in new knowledge and methodologies applicable to other particulate-based multi-scale systems (e.g. crystallization, polymerization), enabling the advancement of scientific understanding in other particulate-based industrial manufacturing operations.Broader impacts: These research findings could be used to enhance the efficiency, profitability and sustainability of many industries (e.g. food, pharmaceutical, consumer goods) that deal with granulation processes to manufacture their products, thus directly impacting the U.S. economy. Codes and a library of solutions to problems developed during the project will be made available for other researchers in the field to use (and improve upon) via the ERC-SOPs pharmaHUB Engineering Virtual Organization for Pharmaceutical Engineering and Science, which has an easy-to-use interface for resource sharing. Research findings will also be integrated into the senior design course creating a PPSE track to better train graduating students in process design and optimization of particulate processes. This is in addition to pre-college (DSI/GSET RU programs) and freshman (RU Byrne?s seminar series) outreach by the PI using his research findings to create a pipeline in place to motivate students to do an honors thesis (RU Slades scholars program) in their sophomore to senior year, thus benefiting the numerous particulate-based industries in the NJ vicinity, as the students graduate with enhanced skills in this field. This will be combined with assessment and evaluation via the RU Center for Teaching Advancement and Assessment to monitor student, program and employer outcomes, for continued improvement of proposed educational initiatives. Proposed international collaboration with The University of Sheffield, UK, (which is internationally renowned in particle technology) will also benefit graduate students involved in this project as they interact with academics and industrial experts and have direct access to state-of-the-art large-scale equipment. Longer term societal benefits relate to enhanced manufacturing operations that lower costs of particulate-based medicinal drugs and consumer goods.
Effective start/end date1/1/1412/31/18


  • National Science Foundation (National Science Foundation (NSF))


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