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Optimising the washing and drying of filter cakes: modelling and applications

   Department of Chemical and Process Engineering

About the Project

The aims of project are to understand fluid transport through filter cakes, and how it is influenced by particle sizes and cake structural properties; Investigate the consequences of this fundamental understanding for washing and drying, which are key processes in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals; and design improved strategies for isolation of particulates that facilitate further processing

Filtration, washing and drying are essential steps in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals. Crystals of the drug, synthesised in solution, have to be separated and purified to produce a free-flowing powder. However, this processing can lead to the formation of agglomerates that not only require additional processing, they can be so hard they damage the milling equipment.

At the University of Strathclyde, we have been developing model filter cake structures in order to understand how particle size distributions and shapes affects their properties and processability. We have great practical experience in the washing and drying processes, working with industrial partners (www.cmac.ac.uk) to optimise the processes for given target drugs. This project will build on these capabilities to broaden understanding and ultimately create new approaches to the processing of the particulates.

Model filter cake structures, created from an existing in-house code, will be used to develop fluid transport models. The impact of crystal properties, such as size and shape, on the transport processes will be explored. The model insights will be used to design favourable filter cake structures that wash more evenly and avoid large agglomerate formation upon drying. The designs will be tested experimentally, with feedback to the modelling work to optimise designs. Strategies for the synthesis and subsequent processing of problematic drug crystals will be implemented.

We seek applicants with good experience of experimental work, coupled to familiarity with computational methodology and a willingness to learn new techniques. The PhD program will provide specific training in the use of modelling codes and programming, as well as experimental training in washing and filtration studies. The successful applicant will join a vibrant group of researchers with expertise in process design, synthesis, characterisation and applications to real-world problems.

In addition to undertaking cutting edge research, students are also registered for the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Development (PGCert), which is a supplementary qualification that develops a student’s skills, networks and career prospects.

Information about the host department can be found by visiting:



Funding Notes

This PhD project is initially offered on a self-funding basis. It is open to applicants with their own funding, or those applying to funding sources. However, excellent candidates may be considered for a University scholarship.
Students applying should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum 2.1 undergraduate degree in a relevant engineering/science discipline, and be highly motivated to undertake multidisciplinary research.

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