During my studies in chemical engineering at KIT, I discovered my passion for disperse systems and rheology. Therefore, I conducted research on the rheological behavior of capillary suspensions for my bachelor’s thesis. After doing an internship at BASF in Ludwigshafen, I finished my studies by writing my master’s thesis at the Institute of Food Process Engineering. Since May 2016, I have been working as a research assistant dealing with high-pressure homogenization.
High-pressure homogenization (HPH) is widely used in order to produce high-quality emulsions in several industries. Nevertheless, it cannot be applied for special applications such as particle-loaded emulsions or melt emulsions. To overcome these limitations, “Simultaneous Emulsification and Mixing” was developed in prior work at the Institute of Food Process Engineering. By including a mixing unit in the conventional HPH process, a variety of new applications of the high-pressure homogenization is created.
Part of my work is the design of a Simultaneous Emulsification and Mixing process, which aims at producing melt emulsions via HPH. This project is funded by the “Deutsche Bundesstiftung für Umwelt”. Furthermore, my research is focused on achieving a better understanding of the SEM process regarding flow conditions and mixing characteristics depending on the process parameters.
Melt emulsions can be produced in “Simultaneous Emulsification and Mixing” devices. The process parameters including geometrical parameters, temperature and pressure are adjusted during the emulsification. Several analytical methods are used in order to characterize the product characteristics of melt emulsions such as droplet size distribution and rheological characteristics. On top of that, a polarization microscope is used to investigate the structure and melting behavior of melt emulsions. Apart from the experimental characterization of the SEM process, numerical fluid simulations (CFD) are used for process improvement.