The first major research area in our group is granulation and agglomeration. The research is targeted at several levels:
- Particle level - Prediction of the behaviour of partially saturated bulk powders and granules from understanding of the particle-particle and particle-binder interactions in the granule;
- Rate process level - Mapping of regimes of operation for the key rate processes in granulation - wetting and nucleation, growth and consolidation, breakage and attrition and the development of mathematical models for these processes.
- Unit operation and granulation circuit level - Development of scale-up rules for granulation processes. This includes simulation, optimization and control of continuous granulation circuits.
Our research group is recognized as a world leader in this research area and in the last 10 years we have helped move granulation processes from a 'black art' to quantitative engineering. Our approaches are now widely used in engineering practice in industry, especially the pharmaceutical industry.
The second major research area is the recovery and delivery of bioactives, particularly by crystallization and precipitation. Our targets here are large bioactive molecules (including proteins) from fermentation broths, food processing, and waste streams. These products are of growing importance as pharmaceuticals, food additives, and biocatalysts and their efficient recovery and presentation for use and delivery is a key industrial issue.