Pedro Martin Salvador

Pharmaceutical Engineering Research Group

Ottergemsesteenweg 460

B-9000 Gent(Belgium)

E-mail :

Education: Chemical engineering - PDEng Process & Equipment Design


Summary of Research Project

Spray dryers are widely used in the pharmaceutical industry to obtain powders from solutions or suspensions and formulate amorphous solids dispersions (ASD). Their application area is now extending towards long-term storage and stability of biologics drugs. In a spray dryer, the feed is atomized into fine droplets, which are dried in air or nitrogen, and in the end, the powder can be recovered in cyclonic separators or filters. The product properties depend not only on the physical and chemical properties of the feed but also on the dryer design and operating parameters.

The equipment and process design of spray dryers face several challenges, such as the complex 3-dimensional flow, the atomization process and its size distributions, and the underlying mechanisms of forming particles from droplets. This is one of the main reasons why large-scale plant designs are usually based on extensive lab or pilot-scale tests. After the initial setup, rigorous, costly empirical tests, followed by statistical analysis, must be conducted. Mathematical modeling can be a useful approach to explore the design principles and predict the drying behavior of droplets and particles and how this varies with operating conditions.

The project aims to develop modeling tools to predict spray dryer behavior, thereby reducing experimental campaigns, providing optimized design, and reducing project lead times.