Applied Physical Chemistry
Effective fluid processing, such as mixing and blending of immiscible components is a crucial step in the creation of many common consumer products found in pharmaceutical, home & personal care, food and other industry sectors.
Many of these products are in fact highly organised on the molecular scale, and controlling their microstructure can confer consumer-perceivable functional properties (e.g. shelf life, opacity, texture, active delivery efficacy). Controlling a complex fluids microstructure is dependent on the product formulation, the equipment used and the strategy employed in processing.
In tackling this industry wide challenge the university's unique Ultra Mixing and Processing Facility (UMPF) represents a bold step forward in the development of industrial scale processing tools for consumer products.
Developing new products through optimal fluid processing
The UMPF is a unique high energy fluid processing laboratory, which is accessible to both private and public sector industries/academies for contract research into scalable liquids dispersion processes. The UMPF aims to address industry mixing and fluid processing challenges by giving companies direct access to the latest technology for the development and testing of nano and micro structured materials for a broad range of applications.
Pressures by orders of magnitude higher than those used in previous mixing technologies, combined with clever modifications of the operational modes and geometries of conventional rotor-stator devices, give this facility the leading edge that will set new standards in fluid processing.
Both distributive (blending) and dispersive mixing can be carried out with significantly higher performance compared to other techniques which means that miscible components are mixed much faster while immiscible ones are dispersed far more efficiently.
Unlike conventional methods, UMPF ensures that all molecules being processed have experienced identical processing histories. As a result, it can produce new properties within existing materials as well as creating truly new products. Because UMPF operates at smaller length scales than those typically achieved currently, exceptionally stable, highly consistent formulations can be created.
This gives businesses a competitive head start in a technology at the forefront of innovation and a key driver of competitive advantage for a generation.
The facility is validated to cope with a wide range of fluids including those of very high viscosity and some flammable solvents. Up to five streams can be mixed simultaneously, and there is the option of heating three streams up to 200°C. Flow rates from millilitres to litres per minute can be adjusted with very high accuracy, which allows for precise dosing of ingredients and ‘on the fly’ formulation modification.
The UMPF actively promotes the collaboration of its customers with other areas of the University helping to establish stronger industry focussed collaborative projects.
For information please contact:
Dr Michael J. Egan
The Ultra Mixing and Processing Facility
The University of Liverpool
The Department of Chemistry
Room G.79 Robert Robinson Building
Office: 0151 794 3505