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Spherical Agglomeration for Continuous Pharmaceutical Manufacture

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  • Full or part time
    Dr R Smith
    Prof J Litster
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Manufacture of pharmaceutical dosage forms, such as a tablets, involve many steps. The active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) must be synthesized, purified and formed into particles (upstream processing). The API is then formulated with excipients, granulated and compressed into tablets. Traditional pharmaceutical manufacture is performed in batch operation, however the industry is undergoing a major transformation to continuous manufacture. This introduces the opportunity for novel processes to integrate upstream and downstream steps, reducing the number of unit operations required in manufacture. One example is liquid phase spherical agglomeration, where agglomeration is initiated in the crystallisation vessel after crystallisation of the API is initiated, removing the need for downstream drying, milling and granulation. Reducing the number of unit operations inherently reduces the degrees of freedom and available design space. Therefore, mechanistically based models for design and scale up are even more critical for these novel processes than for more traditional unit operations.

In this project, the student will develop new multiscale modeling approaches for spherical agglomeration. Essential to this approach is the correct understanding of the key controlling mechanisms and incorporating the most important physics correctly in the models. Model development and validation will be supported by careful experimental studies in our lab at Sheffield, and through collaboration with the Continuous Manufacturing and Crystallisation Centre (CMAC) at Strathclyde University.

A range of skills will be learnt through this project. In particular the student will gain training in designing and conducting comprehensive experimental and numerical studies. The successful student will also gain experience in key particle analysis methods, research methods, professional writing, and oral presentations. Expert training in specific tools will be provided to the successful candidate.

This project will provide skills which are valuable to many industries, including the Pharmaceuticals, Foods, and Consumer Products industries.

The successful student will join a well established research group with excellent facilities, and will be a part of cutting edge research in particulate manufacturing. Opportunities for attendance at both international and national conferences will be provided, and there are prospects to visit other institutions both internationally and nationally.

Funding Notes

A successful applicant would have a first or upper second class degree in Chemical Engineering, Material Science or Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Pharmaceutics or Pharmaceutical Engineering, Food technology or Engineering, or the Physical Sciences such as Physics or Chemistry.

If English is not your first language, then you must have International English Language Testing Service (IELTS) average of 6.5 or above with at least 6.0 in each component.

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