Investigation of microscopic particle physical properties on inter-particle forces and mechanistic extension to mesoscale manufacturing

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds
Department Name: Chemical and Process Engineering


Previous work has shown that developing an understanding of in situ particle-particle forces is a pre-requisite to relate mesoscale bulk behaviour to single particle microscopic interactions. Bulk processing issues relating to phenomena such as rheology, surface coating and milling are ubiquitous throughout business operations relating to Johnson-Matthey (the project industrial sponsor) and the solutions are often arrived at with the addition of extra components to the formulation or a "process bandage". While such an approach has some merit, it does little to improve the appreciation of the underpinning microscopic interactions, resulting in formulations of increasing complexity with ever diminishing understanding. In this regard there is a need to build a fundamental knowledge base understanding how polymers interact with particulates and study the impact of this interaction on bulk properties such as dispersion, flow behaviour and coating performance. Model particulate systems can be synthesized to specific geometries, shapes and sizes that will facilitate the measurement of such particle-particle interactions. These model systems can then be related to Johnson-Matthey relevant systems such as zeolites for Emission Control Technology (cubic), and milled glass particles for Advanced Glass Technology (spherical), in relation to offering insight for improved formulation within the resulting slurries.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R513258/1 30/09/2018 29/09/2023
1958381 Studentship EP/R513258/1 31/08/2017 31/10/2022 Christopher Hodges
Description Nanoparticle adsorption under flow in liquids is non-trivial. Direct observation by confocal microscopy has shown that both the coverage of the adsorbed area and the structure of the resultant surface are complex, and include particle-particle attachment as well as particle-surface attachment. The interaction of these nanoparticles with polymers is currently being investigated, with strong applications to industrial coating technologies.
Exploitation Route Data from the project is highly relevant to the coating technologies commonly employed by many industries, including Johnson Matthey, who partially sponsor the work.
Sectors Manufacturing

including Industrial Biotechology

Description Internal processing techniques within Johnson Matthey have been modified as a result of the findings from this project.
First Year Of Impact 2017