Loughborough University
Leicestershire, UK
LE11 3TU
+44 (0)1509 222222
Loughborough University

Chemical Engineering

News and Events

Spray drying

Developing the next generation of spray dryers

March 14

Dr Andy Stapley has been awarded €325k as part of a €6m EU project to develop the next generation of spray dryers. Spray drying is the main method for producing powdered products such as instant coffee, skimmed milk powder and laundry detergent, by spraying a solution containing dissolved solids into a chamber containing hot air. This is currently an inefficient process as conventional sprays are chaotic, with a wide range of droplet sizes, velocities and trajectories. This means that in order to dry the largest droplets, chambers have to be made very large and excessive amounts of hot air are required.

This project will use new piezoelectric atomisation devices (based on ink-jet printers) to produce directed streams of droplets of very similar sizes and at higher solids contents. This will therefore enable drying to be more controlled and energy efficient. The Loughborough input will be to study the drying and quality loss kinetics of such droplets with specific emphasis on skimmed milk. Protein denaturation and Maillard reaction products are key factors that we wish to minimise. We will develop computational models to describe the drying process and predict quality losses so that these can be used to optimise drying conditions on both laboratory and production scales to minimise energy requirements and reduce quality losses. The ultimate aim is to produce milk powders which when added to water tastes like fresh milk!


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Department of Chemical Engineering
Loughborough University
LE11 3TU

+44 (0)1509 222 533