Personal profile

Research interests

My research interests are in multiphase mixing, dispersion, novel reactors and reaction engineering. My research group, the Centre for Oscillatory Baffled Reactor Application (COBRA), pursues the excellence in scientific research and technological applications in multiphase processes utilising novel oscillatory baffled reactors. The central theme of the strategic research in COBRA is to understand what controls particle/bubble/droplet size in a given reactor environment and to facilitate best fluid mechanical conditions/regimes/reactors in order to achieve the designed outcomes. The scientific research tackles the fundamental aspects of the reactors and processes, such as, mixing characteristics, velocity and shear profiles, macro and micro mixing length, RTD, liquid-liquid dispersion, gas-liquid mass transfer, solid particle suspension and transportation, droplet breakage and coalescence rate; and attempts to establish the link between fluid mechanical conditions and droplet/particle behaviours. While the technological research applies the scientific understanding to real industrial operations using the novel oscillatory baffled reactors, e.g. suspension and emulsion polymerisation, phase transfer catalysis, waste water treatment, fermentation, organic synthesis, crystallisation, flocculation, coagulation, membrane oxygenation, enzymatic solid-to-solid peptide synthesis, hydrogenation and so on.


Professor Xiong-Wei Ni was involved in the development of oscillatory flow technology at its inception in 1988 at the University of Cambridge, UK. He has over 20 years’ research experience and the world expert in the science and technological applications of oscillatory baffled reactors (OBR). Xiong-Wei has been a Full Professor in Chemical Engineering at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh since 1999, is the lead author or principal co-author of over 180 scientific papers on OBR related research as well as 8 patents. He was the keynote speaker at American Institute of Chemical Engineering Annual Meetings, Process Intensification Conferences, Scientific Update Conferences, Industrial Seminars of Process Engineering, Society of Chemical Industry Symposium and the Royal Society of Chemistry Symposiums; delivered invited seminars at Universities in the USA, Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK, China and Japan. A chartered Chemical Engineer, a Fellow of IChemE and a Fellow of Royal Soceity of Chemistry, he is the UK representative in Process Intensification in the European Federation of Chemical Engineering. He span off a company, NiTech Solutions Ltd, in 2005 specializing continuous flow technology that handles solids including crystallization, has directly involved in a large number of continuous crystallization of APIs, fine chemicals and food products, and has gained significant insight into this type of operation.


  • TP Chemical technology
  • Mixing, reactions and crystallisation


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