During the study of chemical and process engineering at KIT, I discovered my interest in food process engineering. In my bachelor thesis, I worked intensively on the research field of food extrusion. A six-month internship at Lorenz Bahlsen Snack World GmbH granted me first insights on the industrial practice of food technology. To enhance my personal profile, I researched on computational modelling of food extrusion for six months at CSIRO in Melbourne. I finished my study of chemical and process engineering with a master thesis on protein extrusion at LVT, where I then started my doctoral studies in January 2017 as part of my work as a research scientist in the research group “Extrusion of biopolymeric materials”.
Currently, my research interest lies in modelling of the extrusion process, with a focus on the investigation of complex flow phenomena. Multicomponent raw materials are used in extrusion, whereby every component influences the process individually. In the resulting multiphase systems, molecular, thermodynamical and rheological aspects determine how micro and macro structuring inside the material develop. These structuring mechanism define the product properties significantly, which is why the knowledge about (flow) mechanisms in the extrusion process is crucial for tailer-made product design.
The extrusion trials are performed on the institute's co-rotating twin-screw extruder. The modular design of the extruder allows high flexibility of the process conditions while ensuring best controllability. Rheological data is determined within the process using an inline rheometer. To complement inline rheometry data, a closed cavity rheometer can be used. Changes in the rheological properties due to thermomechanical treatment are directly indicated. This provides exemplary insights into the extrusion process. The characterization of flow phenomena in the process is carried out with numerical fluid simulation (CFD). Non-isothermal and non-newtonian simulations give information about specific process operations, that are otherwise not accessible via conventional measurement devices.