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Research interests

Victor’s work focuses on applied research in multiphase flow. He is building a research group 2MPI - Multi-Scale Multi-Phase Process Intensification- that uses a better understanding of the dynamics of granular flows obtained through meso-scale experiments and simulations to create sustainable process technology. Their work focuses in the intensification of gas-solid contact devices (e.g. absorbers, reactors, fluidised beds) and manufcturing processes (e.g. coaters, granulators, spray dryers). Based on small scale experimentation and high-fidelity models, they investigate the dynamic of agglomeration, breakage, deposition and resuspension in cohesive particulate systems. High-level-of-detail information is used to extarct new constituitive equations or kernels describring how structures appear, grow and fragment due to the interplay of cohesive forces and hydrodynamic stresses, and improve the formulation of the macroscopic models used in industrial design. An modelling platform can then be used to create new type of responsive gas-solid devices that use external actuation to control the particle dynamics (e.g. structured oscillating fluidised beds, gas-solid vortex chambers) leading to a more efficient, robust and flexible processes, and thus reducing the waste of resources in the manufacturing and energy sectors.

2MPI has active research interests in the following areas:

  • Granular mechanics
    • Rheology of cohesive powders and mixtures.
    • Agglomeration & breakage.
    • Deposition & removal.
  • Process intensification:
    • Oscillatory flows
    • Gas-solid vortex chambers.
  • Control  & Monitoring of dynamic fouling:
    • Heat exchangers (e.g. shell-and-tube, plate)
    • Gas-solid devices (e.g. fluidised beds, furnaces, granulators).
    • Membrane technology (e.g. desalinization, ultrafiltration).
  • Digitalization. 
    • Integration of responsive reactors in advanced control systems.
    • Integration of process design with data-driven monitoring tools.

Biography

Dr Francia is a chemical engineer from Universidad de Salamanca, 2006, Spain, with several other postgraduates in environmental engineering and international cooperation. He has a professional background in fast-moving consumer goods FMCGs, water and energy sectors. After graduation he worked as an engineer in desalinization for a water and energy multinational in Spain, Acciona and joined Procter & Gamble, P&G, as R&D Manager responsible of agglomeration processes. In 2009, he moved into academia undertaking a professional doctorate EngD working with P&G and the University of Birmingham, and during 2009/2014, developed a new experimental and modelling platform to study spray drying in a counter-current swirling towers, including (i) characterization of large vortex flows, (ii) study of particle/droplet agglomeration, drying and deposition/removal processes, and (iii) scale-up from pilot to full-scale manufacturing sites. In 2012/14, Victor joined the Thermofluids division at the school of Mechanical Engineering in Imperial College London to work on a CFD modelling platform to simulate large P&G dryers, and after his doctoral studies, he worked as a consultant for ExxonMobil in the optimization of dynamic fouling in heat exchangers on a start-up company Hexxcell based at Imperial College London, 2015. Later he joined University College London, UCL, as a postdoctoral researcher working on process intensification and during 2016/18 he worked with the head of chemical engineering, Prof Marc-Olivier Coppens, using oscillatory gas flow to structure bubbling gas-solid fluidised beds, and create a new type of operation: dynamically structured fluidization.

In 2019, Victor joined us at the Institute of Mechanical, Process and Energy Engineering IMPEE, to start up his research group, 2MPI - Multi-Scale Multi-Phase Process Intensification, focused in the development of new, more robust, flexible technological solutions for gas-solid and particle processing operations in the energy and manuafcturing industries. 

Key Research Words/Phrases

Particle flow; Process intensification; Vortex flow; Spray drying; Fluidization; Granular rheology; Agglomeration; Fouling;  Responsive technology;

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production

External positions

University College London

20162018

Hexxcel Ltd (Imperial College London)

2015

Imperial College London

20122013

Procter & Gamble (UK)

20092012

Acciona

20082009

Procter & Gamble (UK)

2006

Procter & Gamble (UK)

2004

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