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[Past Seminar]Apr.19.2017 The Fascinating World of Powder Technology

The Fascinating World of Powder Technology

Professor Jan Baeyens


Time:Wednesday,Apr.19,2:00-3:00 pm

Place:BUCT Library Center Conference Room





  Powders and granular materials are solids of size between 0,1 µm and 10 mm, and classified as A (aeratable), B (bubbling), C (cohesive) and D (coarse) groups. They are known to every engineer, as e.g. sand, aggregates and cement in civil engineering; catalytic reactors; milled biomass; fertilizers and tablets in chemical and pharmaceutical plants; crushed ores and minerals in the mining  processes; explosives and solid rocket fuel, or heat carriers in concentrated solar energy. As such, > 70% of all industrial processes, use powders in their operations. The characteristics of solids, liquids and gasses are well known: elongation, emissivity, thermal and electrical conductivity, viscosity, diffusivity and other properties are fully documented. This is not the case for powders, not behaving like solids despite their resistance to a certain degree of distortion; not behaving like gasses though being compressible; and different from liquids despite their liquid-like behaviour.

  The lecture will deal with both design parameters, the influence of the parameters on the operations and the unit operations commonly used, i.e. product storage, conveying systems, drying, grinding, productcharacterisation as important links in the overall plant layout. 

  These unit operations can also be classified according to the ratio of particle/gas velocity, considered (i) very low in hoppers, stockpiles, mechanical conveying; (ii) low in baghouse filters, sieving, fixed bed reactors; (iii) moderate in fluidized beds, spray dryers; to (v) high in pneumatic conveying, cyclones, jet-milling and circulating fluidized beds.

  Current rather pessimistic view confirms both the necessity of a methodical, systematic and scientific approach, and the need to integrate powder technology in the curriculum of the engineers, be it at undergraduate or postgraduate level. The seminar will provide a concise insight in the current state of powder technology.




  A nanoparticle was created in 1945. JanBaeyens was born as a C-powder in march 1946(remember C stands for Charming). He grew up as an A-fellow, very A-micable. 

  He studied Nuclear Engineering (1968, Brussels) and Chemical Engineering (1971, Leuven). As B-boy (Bright), he travelled north-east to Bradford where he joined the research team of Prof. Derek Geldart and obtained his Ph.D. in 1974. By that time he had turned into a real D-specimen due to the U.K. cheesecake and other sweets.

  After his military service (where he lost his D-shape) and 13 years of employment in engineering divisions of various Belgian companies, he became a part-time professor at the University of Leuven (B) and worked as a process and project consultant in Europe and overseas. He joined the University of Antwerpen in 2004 as a full-time professor, responsible for teaching and research in the fields of environmental and process technology. He is co-author of more than 220 papers and 12 books. With over 12000 citations, his h-factor is 49.

  From October 2007, he became Chairholder of the Royal Academy of Engineering (UK) and was granted successive assignments at the University of Birmingham, at the University College London, and at the University of Warwick. He is a VP at the Beijing University of Chemical Technology since 2010, and a part time PI at the BAIC-SM since 2016.