Ruben Waeytens

BIOMATH, Model-based analysis and optimisation of (bio)processesRuben Waeytens
Department of Mathematical Modelling, Statistics and Bioinformatics

Coupure Links 653
B-9000 Gent (Belgium)
Tel.: +32-9-264.59.35
E-mail: Education: Engineering Physics

Towards a better understanding and control of the feeding operation unit in continuous direct compression leveraging computational fluid dynamics.

Continuous direct compression for oral solid dosage manufacturing employs a series of unit operations, of which the feeding unit is typically the first one. Despite its importance in obtaining the correct blend composition, the powder dynamics inside a feeder are not understood very well and maintaining a constant feed rate remains challenging. Currently, when a deeper insight in the feeding dynamics is desired, the discrete element method (DEM) is applied. Within DEM, the motion of every particle in the feeder is described separately, resulting in a computational cost beyond practical applicability for any realistic set-up.

The goal of this PhD is to investigate the possibility of applying a continuum approach to model the feeder dynamics. The field of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) has matured and has brought forward several techniques to model powders in a continuous manner. CFD could deliver answers to relevant questions related to feeders, in a fraction of the time DEM would typically need. These simulations could then aid the design of feeders and could even, after reducing the model complexity, be implemented in more advanced control strategies.