Research objectives and content
The research project (duration requested: 24 months) will cover three consecutive stages regarding specific research, impact and complexity. During the first, motion-encoding PFG-NMR techniques will be applied and extended to the study of bulk adsorbent particle and porous packing properties in chromatographic columns, being in close relation to the up-to-date fine particle design and technology. Results will provide extremely important data on intraparticle fluid diffusion and tortuosity (when using porous particles), interparticle convective dispersion and the packings external porosity, as well as on the fluid mass transfer between the stagnant (intraparticle) and moving (interparticle) fluid. In the second stage, this original approach will be extended by the Implementation of fast NMR imaging techniques, now used to spatially resolve in packed chromatographic columns the aforementioned parameters characterizing fluid dynamics. Here, pivotal attention is paid to the actual (axial and radial) homogeneity and long-term stability of the column packings and its improvement for common chromatographic practice. In the final stage, the results acquired and the experience gained with respect to the well-characterized temporally and spatially resolved dynamics in packed chromatographic columns will be applied to the study of more complex (bio)systems and multi-phase fluid dynamics in porous media. It includes the oil/water transport in packed beds of porous particles and porous rocks (enhanced oil recovery), water transport in granules which carry immobilized microorganisms (waste water research), and the mass transfer characteristics in activated carbon (heterogeneous catalysis). Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)
Due to a complex combination and interplay of PFG-NMR techniques, relaxation time measurements and NMR imaging methods used to temporally and spatially resolve fluid dynamics in porous media, a much deeper and more fundamental understanding, wider and more relevant use of the NMR methods, and greater and faster research progress is expected in this highly interdisciplinary scientific field from the training, impact and broad experience that will be obtained at the host institution regarding the implementation and relevant use of the NMR techniques.
Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)
The impact and potential results of this research project are of fundamental importance for industry. We are cooperating with several facilities that will support our work regarding the design and implementation of column compression technologies, fine particle development and liquid chromatography hardware.