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Transforming Nanoparticles Into Sustainable Consumer Products
February 18, 2005
The practical application of nano technology in the process sectors and their client industries will come to rely heavily on the ability to incorporate nano-particles into products in a fully dispersed and stable state, whilst still allowing the nano-material to fully express its functionality.
The main driver for a new EU Framework 6 sponsored project PROFORM is this need to establish design methods for the manufacture of novel dispersed nano-particulate products. Allowing the rapid implementation of processes to manufacture predictable products, which meet rigorous quality standards.
Currently, the design of processes that involve the dispersion of micro- and nano- particles is primarily based on past knowledge rather than fundamental understanding. This constitutes a major barrier to taking a new product to market within a short period of time. Additionally, the waste associated with preliminary "trial and error" type of work and non-optimal processes results in excessive wate production.
The 10 strong partnership brings together a broad scientific foundation (Karlsruhe University, Loughborough University, Birmingham University, Warsaw University of Technology and Poznan University of Technology), technology SME's (BHR Group, C3M and Rockfield Software) and major international manufacturers (Bayer Technology Services and Unilever UK).
Their work will develop and refine methods for the characterisation of formulation constituents such as particle wettability, porosity, morphology, size distribution, surface free energy, density and aggregate strength, liquid and dispersion rheology and product stability. The processing phase will assess the changes in the liquid phase due to the presence and/or dissolution of particles, investigate the incorporation and dispersion mechanisms of nano-particles into a liquid, and the mechanical phenomena and fluid dynamics within the processing devices. These will include micro-, meso- and macro- scale hydrodynamics, colloidal stability, and manipulation of the particle size distribution and medium composition.
Development of numerical models incorporating relevant fluid dynamics and related parameters, such as solid and liquid phase properties, will proceed in parallel with the overall aim of understanding the phenomena relating to the processing of nano-particles.
The output of the project is intended to cover:
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