Friday, 26 November 2021 12:00

Presentation 1 (12h00-12h40) – Dr Luis Padrela

From Batch to Continuous – New Opportunities for Supercritical CO2 Technology in Pharmaceutical Manufacturing

Presentation 2 (12h40-13h00) – Dr Karthik Ramaswamy

Through-thickness Reinforced Composite-metal Joining Technology

ABSTRACT – Presentation 1

Poor solubility and bioavailability of new chemical entities is a major challenge that keeps plaguing the pharmaceutical industry and jeopardizes their way to the market. Over the last decade, approximately 70% of new APIs (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients) coming through the R&D centres of large pharmaceutical companies have failed to progress due to poor solubility. Novel nanomanufacturing methods, which include supercritical CO2 technologies, have been leading to breakthroughs in the enhancement of physicochemical properties of poorly water-soluble drugs. However, these methods have been facing challenges regarding their implementation in the industry. One of these challenges lies with the inherent difficulties associated when scaling-up nano-processes, particularly using high-pressure. Interestingly, the development of continuous methodologies for drug manufacturing is providing new opportunities for a more successful adaptation of nanotechnological tools onto the industrial environment. As continuous manufacturing processes reduce the size of the manufacturing footprint, scaling-up nanomanufacturing methods becomes much more reliable. This presentation will discuss the production of pharmaceutical drug nanoparticles using batch, semi-continuous and continuous supercritical CO2 methods, including methods developed by the Padrela research group.

ABSTRACT – Presentation 2

Multi-material designs employing carbon fibre-reinforced thermoplastic matrix composites and aluminium alloys offer a viable solution to light-weighting and crashworthiness requirements of automotive structures. However, joining low surface energy thermoplastic matrix composites to aluminium alloys presents a considerable challenge. Adhesive joining presents challenges such as brittle failure, poor damage tolerance and environmental ageing, while mechanical fastening is detrimental for mechanical properties of notch-sensitive composites. Consequently, efficient, reversible, and reliable joining technologies that allow for controlled failure modes are urgently required to accelerate the uptake of lightweight materials in the innovative design of multi-material structures. Hybrid joining technology, which exploits the advantages of both mechanical fastening and adhesive bonding, is a key enabler for realising lightweight and crashworthy composite-metal automotive structures. Through-thickness reinforced joining is one such novel hybrid technique. This presentation will discuss the advantages and performance improvements offered by the through-thickness reinforced joining over conventional adhesive joining. In addition, this presentation will highlight the fragile nature of bonded joints using a case-study.


Dr Luis Padrela studied Biochemistry at undergraduate level before obtaining his PhD in Chemical Engineering at the University of Lisbon (Portugal). Following his PhD, Luis worked in the pharmaceutical industry for 2 years (Hovione FarmaCiência, Portugal) before joining SSPC in UL as a Postdoctoral Researcher and later as a Senior Research Fellow. Luis worked in different institutions (academia and industry) and countries (Ireland, Portugal and Sweden) focusing his research on Particle Engineering Technologies, Continuous Nanocrystallization and (Bio)Pharmaceutical Processing. He is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Chemical Sciences, Course Director on the BSc in Industrial Biochemistry programme and the Professional Diploma of Regulatory Affairs in (Bio)Pharmaceuticals, Funded Investigator in the SSPC and PI in the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Technology Centre. His research group activities are currently funded by Science Foundation Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, and the EU.

Dr Karthik Ramaswamy is a post-doctoral researcher in the CONFIRM Smart manufacturing research centre. His present research focuses on joining and assembling composite structures, employing mechanical fastening, adhesive and fusion bonding techniques. In 2017, Karthik joined the University of Limerick as Marie-Curie early-stage researcher in the project ‘Improving Crashworthiness of Composite Structures’, under the supervision of Professor Conor McCarthy, Professor Michael McCarthy, and Dr Ronan O’Higgins. Earlier, 2013–2017, he was associated with General Motors R&D as a subject-matter-expert (SME) for polymers. As an SME, he has conceptualised, led and successfully delivered several multi-disciplinary research projects, which involved collaborations with large global teams, leveraged internal and external stakeholders, resulting in seven internal R&D reports and four peer-reviewed papers. He has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Anna University and a master’s degree in automotive engineering from the University of Toledo.


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