Professors

Responsibilities

Department of Chemical Engineering

Education

P.Eng
Dipl. d’Ingénieur (ENSIC) 1975
Ph.D. (Western) 1980

Description

DR. BRIENS is a founding member of the Western Fluidization Group: http://www.eng.uwo.ca/research/fluidization/default.htm. He has over 25 years of experience in both academia and industry. His areas of expertise are fluidization and particulate operations.

Current research projects, supported by Industry, address the industrial process used to convert biomass and fossil fuels into valuable fuels and chemicals. For example, the spraying of liquid into a fluidized bed is being studied at the commercial scale, under conditions relevant to the fluid coking process. Another example is the development of a new mobile pyrolyzer for the pyrolysis of agricultural and forestry waste, in partnership with Agri-Therm, as well as the development of processes for the upgrading of the pyrolytic bio-oil.

Other projects involve the monitoring of industrial operations such as high and low pressure fluidized beds, pneumatic transport lines and solids dryers, as well as the study of solids attrition in fluidized beds.

More details may be found at http://www.eng.uwo.ca/research/fluidization/default.htm.

KEYWORDS: fluidization, particulate, powder, vaporization, fluid catalytic cracking, gas-phase polymerization, fluid coking, fluidized beds, solids mixing, signal analysis, pneumatic transport, solids dryers, ultra-rapid reactors, ultra-rapid separators, cyclones, downers, standpipes, biomass pyrolysis, bio-oil upgrading, biomass gasification.

Contact Info

Western Engineering
Thompson Engineering Building,
Room number 459 Telephone: 519-661-2145
Fax: 519-661-3498
E-mail: cbriens@eng.uwo.ca

Cedric Briens

Education

Chunbao (Charles) Xu, Professor and NSERC/FPInnovations Associate Industrial Research Chair in Forest Biorefinery

Contact Info

Office: CMLP 2335 and ICFAR 108
Telephone: 519-661-2111 ext. 86414
Email: cxu6@uwo.ca

Responsibilities

Dept. of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

Education

P.Eng.
BSc (Honors) - Biochemistry, The University of Western Ontario, 1992
BESc - Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, The University of Western Ontario, 1994
PhD - Chemical Engineering, The University of Western Ontario, 2000

Description

Dr. L. Briens’ research interests include signal analysis with emphasis on powder technology applications. Her current research projects include pharmaceutical particulate manufacturing operations and applications of fluidization.

Granulation is the process in which particles are adhered together to form multiparticle units called granules. Granulation is important for preventing segregation, for stabilizing a mixture, for improving flowability and for improving compaction characteristics. In order to obtain the required granule characteristics, granulation must be stopped at a specified point. My research investigates methods to monitor high-shear granulation.

Wet granules are usually dried in a fluidized bed. My research also investigates non-intrusive monitoring of fluidized bed drying to ensure optimum operation of the bed and to identify the optimum end-point.

Whenever a powder product contains more than one component, a mixing stage is required in the manufacturing process. The goal of the mixing stage is to obtain an even distribution of the components within the powder. My research investigates methods to measure the uniformity of the powder mixture non-intrusively and on-line.

There are many applications of fluidization in chemical engineering. My research investigates non-intrusive acoustic methods of monitoring fluidization.

More information on Dr. L. Briens can be found at: http://www.eng.uwo.ca/people/lbriens/

KEYWORDS: powder technology, fluidization, signal analysis, acoustic monitoring, pharmaceutical manufacturing

Contact Info

Institute for Chemicals & Fuels from Alternative Resources
22312 Wonderland Road North
RR#3
Ilderton, ON N0M 2A0
Telephone: 519-661-3885 Fax: 519-661-4016
icfarATeng.uwo.ca

Lauren Briens

Responsibilities

Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

Education

H.BSc. (York University) 1991
M.Sc. (Univ. of Waterloo) 1993
Ph.D. (McMaster University) 1998
Kenan Center Post-Doctoral Fellow (North Carolina State University)-1998-2000 

Description

DR. CHARPENTIER’S main area of research is in developing new “green nanotechnologies” for environmentally-friendly and alternative energy applications. Our group enjoys working with industry on problems which lead to developing new areas in basic science and applying them to real world applications. Research is being carried out in several key areas to develop novel nanomaterials and nanomedicines synthesized using green enabling solvents such as supercritical carbon dioxide and ionic liquids for emerging applications. These novel materials formed using techniques in polymer synthesis, self-assembly and particle design have applications in many areas including solar devices, catalytic and biomedical applications.

Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials: Nanomaterials are being synthesized of TiO2 nanotubes and quantums dots for applications in photovoltaics, thermal absorbers, self-cleaning coatings and bone cements. Supercritical fluids such as scCO2 offer an exciting new method for self-assembly and crystallizing metal alkoxides to produce a new and improved range of materials. Due to the zero-surface tension of scCO2, it provides the ability to wet and penetrate the pores of nanomaterials for enhanced mass-transfer and kinetics to produce a new generation of nanofibers, nanowires, nanotubes, and defined nanoaerogel structures. These materials are studied by crystallography, TEM, AFM and other advanced techniques. As well, homo and copolymerizations can be carried out in scCO2 by various polymerization techniques including, free-radical, living, and metal catalyzed polymerizations. These are important to generate next-generation nanocomposites where a one-pot reaction can produce low-cost adanced polymers. Kinetic modeling of these systems is performed to understand the effect of scCO2 on chain-growth, the molecular weight distribution, and linking of the nanomaterials to the polymer matrix. In order to develop predictive quantitative descriptions of these systems, a detailed physical understanding of the role of CO2 in the process, such as polymer swelling, diffusion, mass-uptake and monomer partitioning is required; in addition to understanding the phase-equilibria behaviour.

Solar Devices: Due to the ever-increasing energy needs of society, a new class of low-cost solar cells is required to produce electricity in so-called photovoltaic (PV) devices. We are developing a new class of low cost PV devices based on nano TiO2 and quantum dots. Quantum dots have been shown to produce multiple excitons per photon, which provides the potential for a new generation of high performance materials. As our manufacturing process is made in a reactor with low cost ingredients, scale-up issues are being explored. As well, solar absorbing materials are being studied using conductive plastics, for a new generation of nanocoatings that convert sunlight directly into heat for hot water and floor-heating.

Catalysts: A new generation of nano catalysts are being explored based on the low cost elements, Nickel and Cobalt. These materials are being studied in collaboration with Inco Ltd., the worlds largest producer of Nickel and Cobalt. Metal aerogel catalysts, based on low cost and high surface area ceramics, are being synthesized in our labs and characterized using techniques such as electron microscopy, and temperature programmed reduction (TPR). The catalysts are being tested for several applications including gasification, fuel cell electrolysis, and hydrogenation. A novel chemical vapor deposition (CVD) technique is being studied for depositing nickel.

Self-Cleaning Coatings: Advanced polyurethane polymer coatings are being prepared by using scCO2. These coatings have both nanoTiO2 and nano SiO2 to provide self-cleaning and self-healing properties. Surface properties of these polymers are being studied to understand the basic physico-chemical properties that enable these properties and how they can be controlled from the molecular level.

Nanomedicines & Nutraceuticals: The techniques that can achieve self-assembly of nanomterials utilizing scCO2 include the rapid expansion of supercritical solutions (RESS), and gas antisolvent crystallization (GAS & SAS). These techniques have the ability to produce ultra-fine particles with extremely narrow size distributions. These ultrafine particles are gaining importance in a wide range of fields from ceramics precursors to controlled release drugs. A continuous crystallization supercritical apparatus has been set-up for several projects such as: 1) production of nanoparticles for pharmaceutical use; 2) crystallization of pharmaceuticals (such as albuterol) to produce particles for inhalation therapy (Trudell Medical and Glaxo SmithKline), and 3) deposition of pre-glass polymeric materials to form dental composite biomaterials; and 4) expanding a homogeneous polymerization medium (such as hyperbranched polymers) to form dry “free-flowing” powders of a desired morphology for polymer production.

KEYWORDS: nanotechnology, photovoltaics, nanomaterials, polymer synthesis, green engineering, supercritical fluids 

Contact Info

Western Engineering
Thompson Engineering Building,
Room number 437 Telephone: 519-661-3466
Fax: 519-661-3498
E-mail: pcharpentier@eng.uwo.ca

Paul Charpentier