Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Research Opportunity

ME 49700 (Undergraduate Research) – Fall 2016
Contact: Prof. Wassgren (
Project title: Twin Screw Granulator Element Design
Number of credit hours: 3

Particulate material is common in numerous industries such as those producing consumer
products, food, feed, and pet food, agrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, energetic materials,
and ceramics. Handling particulates, especially fine powders, can be challenging.
Problems such as poor flow, material segregation, and dust hazards are frequently
encountered. One unit operation that is often employed in an attempt to alleviate these
difficulties is wet granulation. Wet granulation involves mixing fine powder with a liquid
binder to produce coarse granules. A recent design innovation for wet granulation is the
Twin Screw Granulator (TSG). TSG is a continuous wet granulation device in which
particulate material and a liquid binder are conveyed and mixed through an enclosed
horizontal chamber using a variety of screw elements attached to a rotating shaft. TSG
has several advantages over traditional wet granulators including shorter residence times,
compact size, and robust operation.
The objective of this project is to understand the role of the screw element design on the
breakage of wet granules within a TSG. The student working on this project will need to
complete the following tasks to achieve this objective:
• design new TSG screw elements using SolidWorks CAD software
• 3D print these new screw element designs
• perform granulation experiments in the laboratory’s TSG using the new element
to create granules
• characterize the size distribution, shape, and porosity of the granules and
compare these properties to granules created using other screw designs
The student working on this project will be trained to operate a TSG as well as the
equipment used to perform granule characterization. General laboratory safety skills,
data analysis, and communication skills will also be taught. Experience with SolidWorks
is required and 3D printing experience is preferred, but not required. A graduate student
will provide mentoring throughout the project.