Drying and Process Technology Group
The Drying and Process Technology Group combines theory and experimental investigation in the areas of drying technology, heat and mass transfer and applied fluid mechanics, including computational fluid dynamics. This research group is headed by Professor Tim Langrish.
He has made a number of unique research contributions to the fields of spray drying and computational fluid dynamics over the past 25 years. He achieved the first properly-converged, fully three-dimensional, transient simulations of flow patterns inside an industrial milk spray dryer. This achievement is scientifically significant because it applies advanced computational modelling and physical understanding to the solution of important and common industrial process engineering problems. An important application of this contribution is to enhance the operability and availability of spray dryers in the Australian dairy industry, now being applied in commercial practice by the Australasian dairy company Fonterra.
Tim has also optimised timber drying schedules, applying fundamental wood science to enable forest companies to improve their drying operations. This is especially important as high-quality timbers become scarcer. These results were contained in a book published by Springer-Verlag. This contribution is unique as previously no single book had adequately covered a basic understanding of wood drying in practice. The industrial significance and application of this work can be judged from the improvements in productivity (over 10%) and quality (over 50% reduction in cracking) that have been achieved for speciality timber such as ironbark.