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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: GR/M58221/01
Title: SUPERCRITICAL FLUID ASSISTED PROCESSING OF SOFT SOLIDS PLASTICISATION & VISCOSITY REDUCTION
Principal Investigator: Briscoe, Professor B
Other Investigators:
Lawrence, Professor CJ Kazarian, Professor SG
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Department of Chemical Engineering
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 01 January 2000 Ends: 30 June 2003 Value (£): 258,024
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Complex fluids & soft solids
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Food and Drink Manufacturing
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Many soft solid materials are highly viscous and large shear stresses must be overcome during their processing. Current technology achieves this by working at elevated temperatures, which consumes energy and may lead to degradation of thermo-labile products or additives. This proposal is aimed at developing alternative means for processing soft solids using the plasticizing effect of supercritical fluid. The consequent viscosity reduction occurs without increase in temperature and aids processing of these materials due to the lower shear stresses. Fundamental understanding of these phenomena is required in order to optimise new processing conditions. A special high-pressure cell will be developed to study the response of soft solids subjected to supercritical CO2; microstructural and morphological changes will be measured. Indentation/relaxation testing will be used to measure the effect of supercritical CO2 on the plasto-viscoplastic response in polymeric systems, starch-based materials and ceramic pastes. Where possible these results will be confirmed with capillary rheometry. Blister-tests and in-situ spectroscopy will be used to characterise the effects of CO2 on wall adhesion and slip. The success of the proposed work will facilitate the use of supercritical fluids in efficient and safe processes for foods, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, polymers and ceramics.
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Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk