Modelling of Seed Coating by Discrete Elements Method
The offer of an award for a PhD studentship by an EPSRC Industrial CASE has provided a great opportunity for an exciting PhD research programme in collaboration with Syngenta, UK.
Coating of seeds with a uniform and consistent quantity of material is a challenging task. The process involves the gradual accumulation of successive layers of adhesive and coating material on the seed. The use of adhesive allows binding of materials to the surface of seeds. This leads to less fragile coats and hence makes it less prone to dusting, cracking and subsequently to the loss of the active ingredients. During this relatively short timeline (typically within seconds), the seed particles grow either by surface layering or agglomeration followed by various surface phenomena such as spreading, adsorption, abrasion and drying. The fundamentals of these physical mechanisms in seed coating are poorly understood and are considered as an “art” in commercial operations.
The Discrete Element Method, which simulates the motion and mechanical properties of individual particles, is a powerful tool for simulating the processing behaviour of particles and will be used in this work to analyse the dynamic nature of seed coating and the relative importance of the particle to particle mass transfer of material verses the initial contacting, using representative coating formulation and its physical properties. The project will also address scale up/down of the coating process for seeds.
Minimum Academic Requirements (if English is not your first language, then candidates must also meet the University’s English language requirements): MSc (with Distinction) or MEng degree with or expecting a First Class or Upper Second Honours (or equivalent) in Engineering (Chemical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science & Engineering), Physical Sciences (Chemistry or Physics) or Applied Mathematics. A good level of competence in numerical methods as well as experimental skills is essential.
Experience: The candidate must have a strong aptitude for both experimental and modelling activities.
Skills: Teamwork, adaptability and organization skills are required. Creativity, imagination, curiosity, proactive for proposing initiatives and communication abilities are also required.
The award covers UK tuition fees at the rate of £4,100 and an annual stipend of £17,000. The scholarship is open UK students only.
Application Procedure: For details about how to apply, see www.leeds.ac.uk/info/20023/research/86/applying_for_research_degrees
Please state clearly in the funding section of the application form that you wish to be considered for the ‘Modelling of Seed Coating by Discrete Elements Method’. In the research information section please state the name Professor M Ghadiri. For enquires about the application process please contact the Graduate School Office [email protected], t: +44 (0)113 343 8000. For information about the project please contact Dr Colin Hare or Prof. Ghadiri at the University of Leeds, respectively: [email protected]; [email protected]
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