Khala Receives EFCE Excellence Award For Powder Flow Thesis

Dec. 12, 2022
Dr. Marvellous J. Khala is the winner of the 2022 EFCE Excellence Award in Mechanics of Particulate Solids for his PhD thesis “Characterizing Powder Flow in Dynamic Processes."
Dr. Marvellous J. Khala is the winner of the 2022 EFCE Excellence Award in Mechanics of Particulate Solids for his PhD thesis “Characterizing Powder Flow in Dynamic Processes,” completed at the University of Surrey, United Kingdom, under the supervision of Dr. Colin Hare. Khala reportedly achieved the best evaluation results in terms of the technical quality of the thesis, scientific impact and industrial relevance, innovation, dissemination of results and clarity of the extended abstract. The award jury especially recognized that the experimental and theoretical results of his PhD work extend the established characterization methods and models of particle mechanics and contribute significantly to new knowledge in particle technology.

Flow inconsistency of powders is a major problem in industrial processes, which often leads to product waste and economic losses. There are many techniques for characterizing powder flowability; however, they cannot always be used to predict the in-process flow behavior of a powder as the data is not always relevant to the process conditions, according to EFCE. In his work, Khala applied extensive experimental characterization and DEM simulations of particle mechanics to describe the flow behavior. He developed new dynamic models for the flow behavior of particulate materials and showed how the rheological parameters depend on the velocity. He considered models based on physical contact models according to the particle material behavior and measured the micro parameters for these models. The performed DEM simulations were validated experimentally.

Khala’s thesis contributed significantly to predicting macroscopic friction and viscosity of powder beds in the intermediate regime and to developing and validating a velocity-dependent friction model, according to EFCE. It helped to explain the contrasting mechanisms of mixing/segregation in cohesive and non-cohesive systems and to predict mixing performance based on particle size and surface energy information and the energy input.

Khala obtained his MEng in Chemical Engineering from the University of Sheffield, United Kingdom and PhD in Chemical and Process Engineering from the University of Surrey, United Kingdom, followed by a research fellowship there. From February to June 2022, he was research associate at Newcastle University, United Kingdom. Since July 2022 he is system modelling and simulations expert at GlaxoSmithKline in Stevenage, United Kingdom.

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