Ultrasound-assisted reactive extrusion and crystallisation.
The main motivation of this PhD research project is to identify the effect of alternative energy sources like ultrasound and microwave in existing, specialty processes. The use of alternative energy sources could lead to more robust processes, decreasing the dependency on the current energy sources. At the same time, the alternative energy forms can act as enablers assisting the transition from batch to continuous processing. The focus will be on selected cases identified as crucial for the chemical industry and more specifically chemical processes involving highly viscous streams. The evaluation of ultrasound assisted reactive polymerization will be included, with the reactive extrusion of polyurethane as a representative. Hydrophobically modified ethoxylated urethanes are a family of polymers with various uses, primarily as rheology modifiers. The scientific and engineering understanding of the mechanisms and interactions involved in this process is aimed. Furthermore, the parametric study and development of a continuous reactive extrusion polymerization process will be included in the current research topic. The possibility to integrate alternative energy resources in a continuous production process will be investigated as well. Finally, the integrated technology will be demonstrated and the technology level aimed is from lab scale (TRL 4) to industrial level (TRL 6). In addition, the process yield, the process control, the CAPEX and the OPEX are expected to be improved.