Functional properties of materials depend on the processing of their building blocks that are often fluids such as solutions and melts, as well as on processing particulates and other solid materials. Here, several clusters are distinguished:
Fluids Processing deals mostly with processing precursors or building blocks of materials. This can range from micro-fluidics and high throughput systems among others (for analytical purposes) to macro-scale mixing, non-Newtonian rheology and flow, liquid-liquid systems and their emulsion stability and (testing of pharmaceuticals efficacy on) biological fluids (single and suspended cells). Liquid-liquid systems, such as emulsions, are often encountered as in the pre-phase stage to mixing (precursors) of building blocks. In Bernal, novel use of liquid-liquid systems are also of interest as for instance integral energy, (solar) fuels and chemicals production.
Solids Processing deals with the kinetic processes of forming solid materials (such as crystallisation, spray drying, and precipitation) handling procedures (for powders, melts, slurries, etc.), up to equipment design, and the scale-up and testing at pilot scale.
Integrated / integral process development and modelling of a wide range of processes for relevant applications (currently pharma, food/dairy, metals, with future and adjacent sectors such as flavours/fragrances, solar and other renewable fuels) including development of sustainable and/or circular systems. We focus at use efficiency of materials, building blocks and energy.
The Process Engineering Domain builds on dedicated experimental equipment for testing and analysing analytics at small-to-mid (pilot) scales for an academic research and development environment. These suite of professional equipment include spray dryers, crystallisation units, biologicals’ production and purification, microfluidics devices, pilot scale bubble column reactors with fluids flow analytics, high and low pressure/temperate chemicals conversions, and a range of advanced mass spectrometric devices.