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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/J75128/01
Principal Investigator: Beynon, Professor T
Other Investigators:
Seville, Professor JP Parker, Professor DJ
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: School of Physics and Astronomy
Organisation: University of Birmingham
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 September 1994 Ends: 31 August 1997 Value (£): 156,733
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Particle Technology Reactor Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Many of the processes used to make many soft solids and pastes, foods, and advanced materials (detergents, pharmaceuticals or ceramics etc), demand the application of the mixing of dry solids and of pastes. For instance, the exposure time distribution of particles at a heated surface in a direct-contact centre dryer can be significant in determining drying rates and product quality. This distribution will be a function of particle size and the particle size distribution. Some reactor systems, eg for polymerisation, rely on stirred devices and the exposure of particles to hot gases above the bed or to rate-controlling reactions above the bed. In certain major industries (eg detergent manufacturing), the controlled mixing and shear of the particulate phase is central to the control of quality and to the development of new products. A common system here is a vessel in which there is a stirrer blade or blades. The quality of the product, the processing time, and the design of equipment depend upon understanding the behaviour of these systems in terms of the properties of the materials being processed. This proposal has the purpose of imparting scientific rigour to an area which has depended on difficult empirical trials that have told us little or nothing about the internal behaviour of powders in equipment in which there is bulk mixing. The materials selected for study here are ones that represent a wide range of those of interest in practice and which can be characterised in a fundamental manner. A key area in new product development is the means of scaling-up from trial batches of material on the laboratory scale to commercial size; this is a significant issue that the work will tackle. It will also examine how blade design, speed of rotation and particle properties (eg size) affect performance. We already know that the bulk flows patterns and segregation and mixing mechanisms vary unexpectedly, the number of mixing cells not being equal to the number of blades and varying with speed; the reasons are not clear.All this is made possible by the use of positron emission particle tracking (PEPT) which can at the present time accurately track particles at up to 2 m/s inside equipment containing bulk solids of up to 500 mm in diameter.
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Organisation Website: http://www.bham.ac.uk