3D-printed porous media for process engineering
Almost every item we touch is created by industrial processes that involve heat exchangers, separators and catalytic reactors and these critically depend on heat and mass transfer between gases, liquids or solids. Chemical engineering design then involves maximising the heat and/or mass transfer rate, whilst minimising the pressure drop. Traditionally, design choices have been limited by manufacturing methods using tubes, plates and randomly-packed particles. Our research shows that 3D printing introduces new possibilities for the design of optimal geometrically-complex flow channel structures, potentially enabling game changing performance in a variety of applications.
Our research programme is funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) ($9,812,550 over five years) and addresses all aspects of 3D printing in chemical engineering, from the design of the pore structure and materials, to the design of the 3D printers themselves. Our team comprises chemical engineers, mechanical engineers, biologists, computer scientists and materials scientists dedicated to disrupting 130 years of chemical engineering science.
Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to investigate fluid flow and characterise heat and mass transfer.
The physical design of microstructure objects using computer science and machine learning.