Granular materials, also known as particles, are in many forms (ore, coal, grains, sands, aerosols etc.) and are the second largest materials behind water to be handled in industry. Granular materials exhibit unique characteristics which are different from other three primary phases and still poorly understood. The Computation Granular Materials (CGM) group aims to understand the physics governing the complex behaviour of granular materials and its interactions with surrounding fluid through rigorous simulation and modelling at different time and length scales, which is facilitated by experimental characterisation, and to apply the understanding to various applications in different industries.
Next generation dry powder inhalation devices
Dry powder inhalers represent up to 40% of total sales of the global inhalation market, which was more than US$23bn in 2016 and expected to increase to US$35bn by 2023. This project provides an enabling technology to quantitatively evaluate the in vitro efficiency and in vivo deposition of a DPI design for any given powder formulation properties. A predictive DEM-CFD-DPM model based on in-depth understanding of the complex interactions between devices and formulations can provide detailed information at the particle scale, which can be used to design the next generation of inhalation devices.
Milling is an important operation in the mining industry to liberate valuable ores. Current milling technologies are costly, energy intensive with low energy efficiency (<5%). VirtualMill is a multi-scale model to simulate particle comminution phenomena in mills, aiming to facilitate the design and optimisation of grinding processes.
Powder compaction is a common consolidation process in powder metallurgy, ceramic, pharmaceutical tabletting processes. Particles experienced significant changes during compaction. This project aims to study the fundamentals governing the compaction processes through multi-scale modelling, and apply such understanding to the briquetting of iron ore fines.
Additive manufacturing is a relatively new technology for various industries. Selective laser sintering (SLS) is a widely used method in additive manufacturing. The thermal energy provided by a focused laser beam can be controlled in a highly selective way. However, the main barrier of the application is the uncertain quality of the final products. This is because the underlying physics of the process are complex. In order to optimise the process and obtain the product with higher quality, simulation work is required. We aim to establish a comprehensive DEM (discrete element method) model to help design and control the selective laser sintering process.
Centrifugal slurry pump has been widely utilised in the mining industry to transport concentrate and tailing slurry. Erosion of pump volute due to impact with slurry affects the service life and hydraulic performance of slurry. This project aims to develop a numerical model for slurry pump wet end part erosion analysis. By exploring quantitative correlation between part erosion and pump performance, the numerical model will pave the road for the development of cutting-edge slurry pump full-lifecycle digit-twin models.