The World Student Conference on Particle Technology

The 6th World Student Conference on Particle Technology was held in Delft, Netherlands, from 22 - 25 April 2010, prior to the 6th World Congress of Particle Technology (WCPT6) in Nuremburg, Germany. This year's student congress was hosted by Delft University of Technology and took place at the university’s Department of Chemical Engineering.

Specifically catered to students in the particle technology research field, the congress featured several leading academics of the field who presented keynote lectures on the recent progress in key areas of particle technology and further developments. The main theme was nanoparticles, an advancing research area particularly its application in the biology and medicinal field as outlined in one of the keynote lectures by Professor Dr Cees Dekker from Delft University of Technology. Other topics, ranging from aerosol films to macro-scale particle processing, were also addressed by the speakers.

Also carried out were technical practical demonstrations on several particles processing equipments and a modelling software for particulate solids. A discrete elemental modelling software package (EDEM), developed by Holland Engineering Consultant enables simulation of particle handling and processing operations in a simple, flexible manner. In addition, demonstrations of fluidised beds (a small, lab-scaled set up and larger scale column approximately 10 m high), slurry bubble column, nanoparticle electrostatic sprayer and spark discharge generator that produce nanostructured coatings were conducted. Participants were also provided the opportunity to present their respective works in a poster session and in addition to that, the top three posters were awarded.

Along with three other colleagues from the granulation research group of University of Sheffield (James Osborne, Ranjitkumar Dhenge and Xavier Mesnier), I participated in this four-day congress where I also presented a poster on my work: 'Impeller Stress Characterisation for High Shear Granulation: Model Validation'. Albeit more focused on nanoparticles and nanotechnology, the congress also dwelled on interesting topics of particle processing in the macro-scale which are of more interest to our group. A noteworthy and illuminating keynote lecture, delivered by Professor M J Hounslow who is the Pro Vice Chancellor of the University of Sheffield’s Engineering Department, described the prediction of granule growth in a fluidised bed granulator using population balance models.

The practical demonstrations were also interesting particularly the different scaled fluidised bed setups since fluidised bed granulation is one of the topics actively researched by our group. The poster session gave us some valuable insight of the latest works by other research students around the world, namely works related to particle agglomeration or granulation. We also had the opportunity to meet with well-known granulation research groups from Monash University (Australia) and Purdue University (USA), where both institutions boast several leading academics of the granulation field.

All in all, the congress proved to be a useful one for my colleagues and me in widening our knowledge of this continuously progressing research field besides offering the opportunity for us to socialise and discuss about our respective works with other researchers.

By Ei Leen Chan

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