The “Particulate Solids Engineering” team (PES) focuses on the study of the processes of production, separation and shaping of solids or emulsions, from the initial preparation (wet granulation, dissolution, division of a raw material, emulsification, nucleation and polymerization) until the final product is obtained. These particles or drops have specific features such as the size, texture, facies, polymorphic form, surface physico-chemical properties, which must be controlled in order to fulfill their end-use properties.
The particles are obtained mainly by drying and/or curing, convection and infrared radiation, spray drying, freeze-drying, crystallization-precipitation, agglomeration, and polymerization of liquid or gaseous monomers. The emulsions or double emulsions are produced in turbulent mixtures or using membranes.
The team’s scope extends from the study of elementary internal mechanisms (coupled mass and heat transfer, solid phase transition, desolvatation, polymorphism, free radical polymerization, nucleation, breakage, coalescence) to process monitoring and control in the industrial context. Advanced modeling tools are used, including thermodynamics, population balances, and multi-scale modeling ranging from the particle scale (DEM) to the reactor scale, taking into account the fluid dynamics (CFD). On-line monitoring is provided by infrared and Raman spectroscopy, in situ video probe, fast camera, FBRM and calorimetry. The equipment used include stirred reactors, membranes, static mixers, continuous reactors and freeze-drying.
Experiments with laboratory or pilot devices and online monitoring are combined with modeling to determine the rate limiting steps and parameters, identify key model coefficients and develop process optimization and intensification strategies or equipment scale-up rules. The concerned applications are in the fields of chemistry, pharmacy, cosmetics, food, crop and biological products, polymer coatings, paints or glues, materials for energy storage and waste-water treatment.
The directors of PES, Nida Sheibat-Othman and Denis Mangin