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MEI Online: General Minerals Engineering: Conference Reports: UK Particle Technology Forum IV


UK Particle Technology Forum IV
Leeds, UK, 11-12 April 2002

Over 130 people attended the annual two-day meeting of particle technology community held at Bodington Hall, University of Leeds sponsored by IChemE, BNFL, Leeds Institute of Particle Science & Engineering, Procter & Gamble and Unilever. The meeting provided an informal atmosphere to assess the status of research in the UK through several events:

The Young Research of the Year event provided a platform for the six best postgraduate researchers to present their work to a wide audience. The entries and performances were outstanding with contributions on fluidisation phenomena, packing of mineral particulates and various particle formation methods.

Keynote lectures on Aspects of granular flow (Dr A Scott, Cambridge) and Probing particle interactions (Dr M Povey, Leeds) provided clear pointers to the success of fundamental science and thinking to improved understanding and modelling of complex multiphase particulate systems.

The Discussion Forum, provided a 6 minute soap box session to highlight the six best achievements in particle science and engineering across the UK, as nominated by heads of UK research groups. This proved to be a popular slot with fascinating new developments described including: - a new on-line particle size analyser based on a vibrating spring (University College), now under commercial development;
- application of distinct element modelling to predict particle screening performance (UMIST);
- use of synchrotron radiation to follow crystallisation processes in-situ and in real time under realistic process conditions;
- a new model to enable safer operation of fluidised beds for plastics production with substantial economic implications (University of Birmingham);
- new understanding of relationship between size and shape of granules and their breakage behaviour under shear (Leeds);
- use of electrical capacitance imaging to validate multiphase modelling of wet and dry fluidisation reactors (Heriot Watt).

The L J Ford Lecture and Dinner, was chaired by Dr Colin Thornton (University of Aston) and given by Professor R Dave on behalf of Professor R Pfeffer (New Jersey Institute of Technology) on the topic of Advances in Particle Coating. It provided a fascinating update on the growth in methods for re-engineering particle surfaces using dry coating, mechanofusion, supercritical fluid methods and conventional wet nanochemistry.

The Forum Worskhops involved three informal sessions to give more hands on experience in different areas. Professor Brij Moudgil (Director of NSF Engineering Research Centre in Particle Science, University of Florida) gave a workshop on controlling dispersion and nanodispersions. Professor Brian Kaye (Emeritus Professor Laurentian University, Canada) introduced a group to practical skills in handling powders. Dr Bao Xu (Leeds University) with colleagues introduced the emerging and important topic of multiscale modelling giving examples of coupled DEM-CFD-MC models for particle systems.

With posters of graduate work and a lively exhibition of instrumentation to fill in the gaps, the two days passed quickly leaving attendees with a strong sense of community. The next UK Forum will be held in Sheffield in 2003.

Richard A Williams, Anglo American Plc Professor of Mineral & Process Engineering, University of Leeds, UK




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