Understanding the physics of fluidization and transport of nanoparticles is the research focus of Robert Pfeffer, distinguished professor of chemical engineering. Nanostructured materials have unique properties that could benefit the food, pharmaceutical, petroleum, chemical, agricultural and ceramics industries. With funding from the National Science Foundation, Pfeffer's research team is collaborating with the Illinois Institute of Technology to develop methods to process nanoparticles for nanomixtures and nanocomposites with tailored properties. The team hopes to develop innovative applications for processing nanostructured powder materials.
Dr. Pfeffer's team has discovered that fluidization of silica particles can be dramatically enhance by coupling aeration with vibration, acoustic waves or centrifugal force. The process reduced the velocity needed for fluidization, eliminated plub formation, and resulted in a smoothe , virtually bubbleless fluidization. Read an article about the team's work. Dr. Pfeffer's team report ant these findings have led to important progress toward understanding the processing of nanoparticles and nanocomposites.