SCI Seligman APV Travel Bursary Recipient Xin Yi Ong, reports from WCPT8, Florida, USA

23 September 2018

Xin Yi Ong was awarded a Seligman APV Travel Bursary to attend this year’s 8th World Congress on Particle Technology in Orlando. Here, she tell us about her research and the positive networking experience she gained from the conference.

‘I am currently doing my 3rd year PhD in Chemical and Process Engineering at the University of Surrey. Since I started my PhD, I have already attended and presented posters at two international conferences, one being awarded the second best poster. I also won the Three Minute Thesis competition at the University of Surrey last summer. My PhD project involves the investigation of powder dispersion in liquids by investigating the interplay between the properties of powders and their mass flow rate upon addition to an aqueous surface. I am working with Dr Marco Ramaioli and Prof. Spencer Taylor. I was awarded the SCI Seligman APV Travel Bursary October 2017 of £500 to attend the 8th World Congress on Particle Technology in Orlando, FL, USA.

‘The dispersion of dehydrated powders in water is a key step in many process industries. It is often difficult to predict and control the conditions leading to lump formation that is wet outside and dry inside since dissolution is hindered subsequently by entrained air. My work involves understanding the forces of particle acting at the liquid surface, as well as identifying the consequences of varying such factors as particle size, density, wettability and particle surface roughness. Ultimately, the aim of the work is to develop experimental and theoretical insights designed to provide better engineering solutions for efficient powder dispersion, avoiding, for example the formation of heterogeneous lump.

‘The focus of this contribution is therefore on studying experimentally the behavior of a powder poured on a static liquid interface and the formation of a granular jet. The wetting properties of the system were varied by using ethanol-water mixtures. Two types of grains, of different density, were used and the size of the grains varied between 50 microns and 1 mm. The conditions under which powder grains form a ‘jet’ through the interface, or alternatively float to form a powder island, were quantitatively investigated. The relationship between the kinetic energy of the grains generated as they flow through a circular orifice under gravity and the surface energy created by the grains at the interface per unit time was also quantitatively studied. These results were presented during the oral presentation and will be published as an article. These findings can be used to promote powder dispersion and avoid lumps.

‘I would sincerely like to thank the Seligman APV committees. This bursary provided me an opportunity to disseminate my novel findings. I had the chance to interact and connect with expertise from different parts of the world working in this field. The first-hand discussion and ideas exchanged will be a driving force for carrying my research in the future.’

Xin Yi Ong
PhD Student
University of Surrey

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