In-situ Monitoring of Flowing Pharmaceutical Powders

Lead Research Organisation: University of Strathclyde
Department Name: Inst of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sci


The project aims to develop an in-situ real-time technique for monitoring mass flow rates of granular materials using terahertz (THz) waves. The industrial partners who are providing co-funding have expressed need for an in-line flow-monitoring technology and a THz based sensor system has the potential to provide them the desired capability. The feeding of granular materials to downstream processes is a key operation in many manufacturing lines, ranging from polymer and food to pharmaceuticals. The accuracy of the feeding is specifically important in manufacturing medicines, where inconsistency in feeding has a direct effect on the final quality, efficacy and safety of the drug product. High-potency drug products and microfactories require the dosing of precise micrograms, which is a particularly big challenge with currently available feeding systems and due to the lack of a technology that is capable of monitoring low mass flow rates accurately. A THz-based technique is exceptionally suited to this purpose, because most pharmaceutical feedstocks are transparent to THz radiation (whereas they are opaque in the visible). A variation in the mass flow of powder will cause a change in its THz transmission properties, which can be directly monitored and correlated with flow rates. The in-situ measurements will be performed on state-of-the art feeding systems as well as on novel setups for low-flow and highly accurate systems, as developed in the additional PhD project (see below, referred to as PhD student 2). The project will proceed in close conversation and collaboration with the industrial partners, to ensure that their process monitoring needs are met by the developed technology. The project is aligned with NPL strategies on Advanced Manufacturing, Life Sciences & Health, and Embedded and Ubiquitous Measurement.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/T517665/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2024
2267922 Studentship EP/T517665/1 01/10/2019 30/09/2023 Keir Nathan Murphy