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Process intensification of unit operations through adaptative high-performance computational fluid dynamics (CFD)

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  • Full or part time
    Prof Bruno Blais
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

Process intensification is based on the development of novel apparatuses, techniques and technologies that, compared to those commonly used today, are expected to bring dramatic improvements in manufacturing and processing, substantially decreasing equipment-size/production-capacity ratio, energy consumption, or waste production, and ultimately resulting in cheaper, sustainable technologies. In chemical engineering, process intensification leads to processes with significantly reduced environmental footprint, increased efficiency and reduced size.

Although the new intensified processes can be developed through experimentation and rapid prototyping (e.g. 3D printing), numerical tools are increasingly used to improve turnover time and reach unconventional optimal solutions. For unit operations that contain fluid in motion, this requires the development of adaptative CFD tools which can adapt to drastic change in topology without re-meshing while maintaining high-accuracy.

Conformal decomposition methods are a novel type of immersed boundaries that can maintain high-order accuracy without a conformal mesh. This allows the method to model complex geometries in motion by defining the geometry using a simple signed-distance function, making it ideal for applications such as topology optimization, large-eddy simulation and process intensification.

Among the key objectives of this PhD is the development of conformal decomposition immersed boundaries in the Dealii framework, a high-performance open source library to solve partial differential equations using the finite element method (Galerkin or Discontinuous Galerkin). This library can solve very large problems implicitly (>109 DOFs) and has been designed around dynamic mesh adaptation. Once developed, these conditions would be applied for the optimization of mixing in agitated vessels and/or solid-particle flows.

Funding Notes

The fellowship for the PhD is assured and will follow the norms of the department of Chemical Engineering.


Process Intensification
Multiphase Flows
Topology optimization

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