Research at the Chair of Process Systems Engineering

Process systems engineering as a scientific discipline is characterized by its integrative approach. Technological problems are addressed not only in the context of a specific application, but rather from a general systemic perspective. The systemic perspective leads to the central role of models as well as mathematical and computational tools in process systems engineering. Additionally, the systemic approach involves the focus on process design, control, and optimization in process systems engineering. This general agenda is used to address various process-engineering in the context of food- and biotechnology.

Particle Technology

Various solids are given as discrete particles. In this case, particle size and shape have an important impact on storage und use of granular materials. Size and shape are also variables that can be themselves influenced in technical processes and have to be chosen correctly for different applications as well as realized in the corresponding processes. Various questions of particle technological interest are addressed in this context at the Chair of Process Systems Engineering by experimental methods and simulation approaches.

sugar comminutionHeiko Briesen
Discrete Element SimulationDaniel Nasato
Triboelectric protein enrichmentJavier Perez Vaquero
Wax-Particle-CoatingMario Wörthmann
Effect of particle shape on packing and flow propertiesTiaan Friedrich

Simulation of a powder rheometer (left) and a ring shear cell (right) using the Discrete Element Method (DEM)

Drying Technology

Many products in food and pharmaceutical industry, have to be dried for their further use. Drying, however, leads to various changes in material properties, some wanted, others unwanted. To use this process in a targeted way for different applications, basic mechanisms need to be understood and their control has to be explored. This is done at the Chair of Process Systems Engineering with different research focusses.

Amorphous-crystailline transition for sugarsMartin Schugmann
Freeze drying of foodSebastian Gruber, Mathias Hilmer

 Schematic representation of a partially freeze-dried sugar particle, which can be observed e.g. by neutron tomography. ©Schürmann

Transport Processes in Porous Media

Porous media play an important role in various systems, e.g., in biological structures, in thermal insulation as well as in separation and extraction processes. Porous structures are characterized by their large inner surface as well as their specific transport properties. At the Chair of Process Systems Engineering, different porous media are analyzed and optimized with respect to specific applications.

Optimal control of precoat filtration  Philip Pergam
Coffee extractionVerena Pannusch
Mass transfer in filamentous micro-organismsHenri MüllerCharlotte Deffur
Water transport in treesPetra Först

  Computed tomography of Aspergillus niger (left) and visualization of mass transfer inside a filamentous fungus (right)

                       

Crystallization

Crystallization is an important downstream processing and product formation step in the pharmaceutical and food industry. Active agents are purposefully crystalized from liquid solutions in order to facilitate separation and further processing. In this respect, crystal size and shape are of central importance; these can, in turn, influenced by suitable process control strategies. At the Chair of Process Systems Engineering, different crystallization processes are investigated experimentally and theoretically in order to explore possible improvements.

Lactose crystallizationRamona Bier
Non-ideal crystal forms in crystallization processesSimon Schiele
Regulation of crystallization processesSimon Schiele, Ramona Bier
Optical sensorsCornelia Eder

Measurement of crystal growth and concentration in the vicinity of the crystal surface by laser interferometry

Heat and Mass Transport in Complex Systems

Heat and mass transfer are omnipresent in nature and technology. For various technological
applications, it is decisive to use and control these mechanisms purposefully. Especially in complex
systems, such as often encountered in the biological and food sciences, heat and mass transport are
usually difficult to assess and to influence. With a special focus on these fields of application, heat
and mass transport are investigated experimentally and theoretically at the Chair of Process Systems
Engineering. In particular, we apply molecular dynamics simulations to understand the behaviour of
aroma molecules at interfaces in food.

Conching of chocolatePhilip Schmid

 Flow-induced heat transfer to cubic geometry (piece of fruit inside a beverage with different orientation angles), obtained by numerical fluid dynamics

Molecular dynamics for aroma molecules at interfaces in food.Tobias Benedikt Koch

 
Snapshot of a molecular dynamics simulation of an aroma molecule (green) at the interface between
water and butterfat.

The electrostatic potential map for caffeine and chlorogenic acid in coffee at the optimized ground state geometry according to density functional theory.