The production and processing of particles along the process chain determines the structural and technical application-oriented properties of a large number of products. In this process, particles in the dry state are processed starting with storage and followed by transport and comminution to the complex synthesis of inorganic and organic particles, subsequent agglomeration, dispersing and coating processes within a liquid phase. The aim of the research work within the professional group “Particle Simulation & Functional Structures” at the Institute for Particle Technology and the Center of Pharmaceutical Engineering is the targeted design of particle interfaces and structures as well as their formulation and further processing in order to manufacture innovative and novel products, with special emphasis on pharmaceutical products. Furthermore, the goal is to pursue a quantitative description of the micro- and macroprocesses responsible for the structure formation along the process chain.
Analogous to the experimental work, the simulations of particulate processes and products as well as the derivation of mechanistic models come into focus in order to give insight into the complex relations during the production and processing of particles on different scale sizes. Taking this into consideration, discrete element method (DEM) and coupled computational fluid dynamics (CDF) simulations are well-grounded tools to describe the particles and the possible additional fluid phase. The discrete element method regards the interaction between large numbers of particles. In fact, the forces acting on each particle are computed from the initial material data and the relevant physical laws and contact models. The flow simulation then takes into account particle movement within a fluid as a continuum. Current research focuses on the following areas:
Figures: CFD-DEM simulation of a fractal aggregate within a flow (left), scanning electron microscope image of a hierarchical aggregate structure (right) produced by spray drying.