Liquid transfer and heat management in granular media for pharmaceutical applications

The aim of the current project is the simulation of processes in the field of pharmaceutical unit operations, involving heat liquid and mass transfer mechanisms between fluid and granular material. Heat transfer within multiphase systems, composed of a continuous phase and granular assemblies (disperse phase), has been extensively studied, using continuum approaches to describe all phases in the system. This project will focus on heat and liquid transfer models where the solid flow is simulated with the Discrete Element Method (DEM) in an in-house CUDA, C++ code, while a CFD commercial software will be used for the fluid phase.

The initial objective is to analyse heat transfer in granular systems of dry/wet, dilute/dense and static/slow flows. Both heat convection (particle – fluid) and heat conduction (particle-particle through the contact area, particle-particle through the interstitial fluid, conduction within one particle) will be taken into account.
Liquid transfer will be considered by modelling the shape of liquid bridges. This can provide information on contact angles, bridge rapture point and redistribution of liquid to the particles after rapture, as well as the capillary forces due to the formation of liquid bridges.

The final aim of the project is the establishment of an overall model for the simulation of drying processes in fluid – granular flows. Inter-phase mass transfer and the fluid phase mass transfer will be considered, as well as the heat transfer due to evaporation.

The models, after establishment and validation, will be applied for gaining insight in different pharmaceutical applications, such as tablet coating.

Nikoletta Patsaki


2011 -  Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics (3rd place graduate), from School of Sciences and Engineering, University of Crete, Heraklion, Greece.

From March until June 2011 - Trainee in Foundation of Research & Technology-Hellas (FORTH) – Institute of Applied and Computational Mathematics, Heraklion, Greece, focusing on Numerical Discontinuous Galerkin Methods for Conservation Laws.

Since December 2013 she holds Master’s Degree in Computational Mechanics, majoring in Fluid Mechanics, from School of Chemical Engineering, National Technical University of Athens, Greece.

February - July 2014 - She has been a Junior Researcher  in Research Center Pharmaceutical Engineering (RCPE) in Graz of Austria, focusing on simulations of segregation of granular materials during discharge from industrial hoppers, using the Discrete Element Method (DEM).

In July 2014 she joined the T-MAPPP network as an Early Stage Researcher, hosted by Research Center Pharmaceutical Engineering in Graz, Austria, investigating Liquid and Heat transfer in granular media for pharmaceutical applications.

Contact details

Area I – Advanced Simulation Technology,

Research Center Pharmaceutical Engineering GmbH A-8010 Graz,

phone: +43 316 873 30907,fax: +43 316 873 1030901,


Nikoletta Patsaki