International Online Workshop: Particle Technology and Product Design Education – A Digital Leap Forward

From 10-11 May 2021 the Collaborative Research Center 1411 “Design of Particulate Products” and the International Fine Particle Research Institute (IFPRI) will organise an online workshop devoted to higher education in particle technology and product design. Over two afternoons, talks and discussions will be devoted to the status of the curriculum in these fields across of the world and also highlight new opportunities for online and blended learning, many being directly catalysed by the SARS-CoV2 pandemic. The workshop, which will be free of charge, will be targeted towards all those involved in university teaching of particle technology and closely related fields as well as to industry representatives and those looking to collect or share experience regarding digital teaching methods in engineering.

Basic information

Dates 10-11 May 2021
Times: 10 May 2021 (2.30pm – 6pm), 11 May 2020 (1.45pm – 6 pm) – All times Central European Summer Time

N.B. Registered attendees in time zones which make live attendance difficult will be able to view videos of the plenary talks shortly after the event

Format: Day 1: Plenary talks/discussion. Day 2: Breakout discussions (world café) on online and blended learning, and plenary talks/discussion
Platform: Zoom (Audio/video) & MURAL (Discussion board – preview available here)
Attendance fee Free of charge
Registration: To registration form

Workshop details

An IFPRI-sponsored workshop in April 2017 showed the need for greater coordination of the particle science and technology community regarding education in the field. In particular, colleagues from industry highlighted the general lack of key competences of new graduates in particle-related topics, while lecturers demanded that relevant aspects of particle technology and product design are integrated to a greater extent in core engineering subjects. Moreover, there is a considerable need for the focus to widen from traditional particle technology unit operations to include product design for multiphase systems for a wide range of applications. Three years on from the previous workshop and following a year of emergency online teaching, we stand on the cusp of possible great changes to the way engineering competences are delivered to students. It is therefore pertinent to take new stock of the global situation of particle technology education, to highlight best practices and optimize key components of the curriculum for future needs.

Day 1:  10 May 2021 14.30 – 18.00 (CEST)

The first day of the workshop will concentrate on the status of the particle science and technology curriculum. Plenary talks given by university lecturers from different countries and representatives of industry will trigger discussion of the core curriculum, new developments and challenges.

Day 2:  11 May 2021 13.45 – 18.00 (CEST)

Blended learning aims to combine the advantages of asynchronous learning with the necessary synchronous interactions between students, their peers and their teachers. Although universities have engaged themselves for many years with online and blended learning methods, uptake has varied considerably across the subject spectrum. In the fields of chemical engineering in general and particle science and engineering in particular, blended learning has not been widely implemented. The SARS-CoV2 pandemic has thrust digital-oriented teaching into the spotlight and may provide the catalyst for a sea-change in the approach to higher education in the Engineering sciences. Nevertheless, the wide range of opportunities, challenges and solutions associated with blended learning brings the risk that traditional face-to-face teaching is replaced by a variety of disparate approaches at different institutions or even within them. This could result in a confusing situation, not only for students themselves but also for lecturers and for future employers who wish to identify the most suitably trained candidates. Consequently, networking between university educators in the relevant fields is more critical than ever. After nearly a year of “emergency online teaching”, it is important for our field of particle science and engineering to take stock, highlight best practices, identify shortcomings and chart out a sustainable course for the future. To this end day two of the workshop will comprise a combination of presentations covering relevant elements of blended learning for engineering teaching with a discussion forum based on the World Café model where colleagues can share their own (recent) experiences.

Programme, Speakers and Abstracts

Please note that this is a program draft and subject to minor changes e.g. in the order of the talks.

All times Central European Summertime (EDT + 6, BST + 1, AEST – 8). Registered attendees in time zones which make live attendance difficult will be able to view videos of the plenary talks shortly after the event


Wolfgang Peukert

Prof. Wolfgang Peukert
CRC 1411 Coordinator

Prof. Bärbel Kopp
Vice President Education
FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg

Prof. Jim Michaels
Vice President IFPRI


The International Fine Particle Research Institute held a particle technology education workshop in Sheffield, UK in April 2017, which examined many different aspects of the challenges for all of us in this area (Powder Tech, (2020), 360, 144.). Even though it is just four short years after that workshop, our world has changed significantly and this is especially true in the education space. However, many of the outcomes of the meeting remain very valid: the need to educate undergraduates in the field; the continuing battle to get support for solids processing technology both for the undergraduate curriculum and PhD research; the desire by industry to have well-trained engineers at all degree levels. With the onset of the Covid-19 virus in early 2020, we’ve had to embrace both the delivery of education remotely and doing industrial particle technology development virtually with minimal experiments. We will examine the effectiveness of virtual delivery of particle technology engineering education across all levels (UG, grad, and post-grad) and where significant challenges still remain. In addition, I will highlight the importance of teaching each other so that we may teach our students better.  Lastly, I will offer some thoughts on the path forward for education in OUR field.

Karl Jacob is a retired Fellow in Engineering Sciences at The Dow Chemical Company. He is the founder of the Solids Processing Lab at Dow.  Presently, he teaches solids processing and assists with process design at the University of Michigan.  He is an AIChE Fellow and a graduate of Case Western Reserve University. For nearly the last four decades, he has worked on a vast array of particle technology problems, with particular expertise in silo/hopper design, powder mechanics, pneumatic conveying, particle engineering.


The talk will provide an overview of how particle technology education is being delivered in Australia with an example of the program offered at the School of Chemical Engineering at UNSW Sydney. The School offers coursework degrees in Chemical Engineering, Chemical Product Engineering, and Food Science at undergraduate level, and Master of Engineering Science specialising in chemical and food process engineering at postgraduate level. The fundamental properties and processes of particulate materials, and modelling approaches are offered as part of the core subjects at 2nd and 3rd year levels. The more advanced applications of particle technology are embedded in several discipline electives at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, including in complex fluids microstructure, nanotechnology, food / pharmaceutical processing, and heterogenous catalysis. The talk will cover the potential direction for particle technology education for future engineers in the Australian context.

Prof. Cordelia Selomulya joined UNSW Sydney in December 2019 as a Professor in the School of Chemical Engineering and as a Research & Commercialisation Director of the Future Food Systems CRC. She is leading a research group with an internationally recognised reputation in drying technology research, particularly for functional particle assembly via microfluidic spray drying. She was the recipient of IChemE Global Awards in Food and Drink category (2018) for the best project, process or product that demonstrates innovation to optimise manufacturing operations and contribute to the manufacturing of safe, sustainable food or drink, BHERT (Business & Higher Education Round Table) Award (2018) for outstanding collaboration in R&D for the Food and Dairy industries, and Fonterra Award (2017) for outstanding contribution in the industrial application of a novel technology in the field of bioprocessing. She was recently elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (2020). At UNSW, she is continuing her work to develop new functional dairy ingredients via spray drying, in collaboration with Penn State and Soochow Universities, supported by the Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery program. She is collaborating with Jacobs Douwe Egberts to improve spray-dried powder properties for beverage applications, EcoMag Ltd for spray drying of magnesium powders for nutraceutical applications, and Sanitarium Health Food Company to optimise their plant-based products.

This talk describes the Master of Engineering in Particle Technology program offered at the University of Delaware from 2014-2020 and its capstone element, a course titled Particle-Based Product Engineering. The full program consisted of six core courses, four of which focused on fundamentals while two focused on applications. The fundamentals courses built a foundation of understanding in particle properties and characterization, particle formation and transformation kinetics, mathematical modeling of particle systems and particle transport in powders and slurries. The two applications courses utilized this foundation to focus on:

  1. Unit operations design, including integrated flowsheet development and simulation
  2. Product design through a stage-gate process from concept development to market introduction based on market analysis, formulation science, experimental design, manufacturing capability assessment and economic evaluation

Prof. R. Bertrum Diemer has over 40 years of experience at Dupont Company where he developed and improved products and processes via applied expertise in reaction engineering, thermochemistry, and population balance modeling. During that time he never lost sight of the importance of first class chemical engineering education and was Adjunct Professor at the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering of the  University of Delaware from 2004 to 2014. Following that he became Professor of Practice, his main focus being the development, teaching and oversight of a new professional masters program leading to a Masters of Engineering in Particle Technology. He also has primary responsibility for teaching a capstone design course to senior undergraduates.

16:15 Break (15 Minutes)

Product design is the formation, formulation, handling, manufacturing, and characterization of complex multiphase products with specific properties. The applications define the required product properties, which cover both classical fields of process technology in the chemical industry as well as new emerging fields of electronics, energy and environmental technologies, life sciences, materials science and engineering, nanotechnology, and photonic technologies. In view of the broad relevance of particle science and technology, the challenge is how to prepare students to tackle the grand challenges in particle science and technology in academia and industry.
Our answer is to introduce fundamental unifying principles, which are widely applicable to many different kinds of products including solid, liquid, and even gaseous particles and which are required to understand, design and apply particle systems in various applications. These principles are related to the formation and formulation of particulate systems along the five dimensions of size, shape, surface, morphology and composition.

Wolfgang PeukertProf. Wolfgang Peukert has led the Institute of Particle Technology at the FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg since 2003. His research focuses on particle technology including the molecular understanding of particle surfaces and interfaces and methods of particle production and processing investigated in hierarchically structured approaches. In addition to molecular simulation (DFT, MD) continuity approaches (FEM, CFD) as well as particle-based methods (population balances) are used. He established a number of highly visible interdisciplinary consortia with particle technology playing a central role, including the Research Training Group in Disperse Systems for Printed Electronics, the Cluster of Excellence Engineering of Advanced Materials and the Collaborative Research Center 1411 Design of Particulate Products.



Abstract to follow

Dr. Rachel Smith obtained her BEng and PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Queensland and was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Department of Chemical Engineering at Monash University in Melbourne. In 2012 she joined the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering at the University of Sheffield and is now Senior Lecturer. Rachel is interested in the study of particulate systems in industries including pharmaceuticals, foods, detergents, biological processing and water, using a combination of experimental and computational simulation tools.

All times Central European Summertime (EDT + 6, BST + 1, AEST – 8). Registered attendees in time zones which make live attendance difficult will be able to view videos of the plenary talks shortly after the event


Abstract to follow

Sónia Hetzner holds a diploma in Sociology, Geography, Politics and Biology from the FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg. She has been a senior researcher at the Institute for Innovation in Learning at the FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg since 1999 and is currently team lead manager of the institute. In this capacity she is responsible for the development, management and evaluation of technology enhanced learning and training projects for different target groups. She has managed or contributed to more than 25 National or European projects. She is an E-learning instructional designer, author of self-learning material for different target groups. Besides her management duties she currently specializes in the field of technology enhanced learning & knowledge sharing approaches (user-centred learning environments, Simulations and Serious Games). Here she has a special focus on adult education, science education and education as the driving force for a societal change.


The Master of Engineering in Particle Technology program at the University of Delaware was originally conceived as a conventional residential instructional program.  Early in our first year (2014), we received a request from a working engineer in Vermont,400 miles distant, to complete the program remotely.  Realizing that employed engineers represented a significant market for the program, we implemented changes in how we delivered our courses to allow simultaneous attendance by residential and remote students.  In this talk, I will discuss those changes and the tools (hardware and software) we used to facilitate hybrid instruction.  Overall, we found the conversion to be flexible to teaching style, inexpensive, and simple to implement.

Perhaps the most significant lesson we learned was that providing education in particle technology to working engineers is an important and largely unmet need.  Most working engineers are unable to take full courses on an academic schedule, therefore other channels for delivering content need to be developed.  I will describe a “straw man” for one approach that is being prototyped by the International Fine Particle Research Institute (IFPRI).

Prof. Jim Michaels worked at Merck & Co. for twenty-one years, where he established and directed an industry leading center of excellence in materials science and particle technology.  This department supported all product sectors at Merck, including small molecules, vaccines and biologics, sterile products, consumer care, and animal health.  He retired from Merck in 2014 to join the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware.  At UD, he joined Bert Diemer to develop, teach, and direct the Masters of Engineering in Particle Technology program.  Jim is also Vice President of the International Fine Particle Research Institute, responsible for administering IFPRI’s global research program.  He holds B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, and an Sc.D. from M.I.T., all in chemical engineering.


TU Delft offers various MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) on the edX-platform. A MOOC is an online course aiming at large-scale interactive participation and open access via the web. There is not yet such a MOOC on Particle Technology available in Delft, and – as far as I am aware – there is also little openly available online material in this field at other universities.

In this presentation, I will briefly show how a MOOC can work, and discuss its pros and cons. I will also present some other ways on (partial) online teaching. Subsequently, I will discuss how these approaches could be applied to the field of Particle Technology.

Prof. Ruud van Ommen has been a member of the Department of Chemical Engineering at TU Delft since 2001 and has been Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Professor there since 2016. He is active in the fields of particle technology and chemical reaction engineering, with particular focus on the scalable production of advanced, nanostructured materials. In 2011, he started an ambitious programme (funded by an ERC Starting Grant) to investigate the interplay between agglomeration and coating of nanoparticles in the gas phase. This fundamental work has been leading to multiple practical applications in health and energy applications, funded by several research grants and by industry. It has also led to a spin-out a company (Delft IMP).

15:15 Break (15 Minutes)

In three short talks, different examples will be given regarding how particle technology and related subjects have been taught using hybrid and digital methods.

Prof. Nicolas Vogel
FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg

Prof. Einar Kruis
University of Duisburg-Essen

Prof. Robin Klupp Taylor
FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg

16:00 Breakout Session 1
16:25 Breakout Session 2
16:50 Break (10 Minutes)

Modern internet infrastructure makes it easy to bring equations to life on a phone, tablet or laptop, allowing us to explore what a theory means by changing input values and instantly seeing the numerical and graphical results. My own site with 350+ apps gets 250,000 visitors a year keen to explore science “live”. The hard part of writing an app is the interface – but that’s readily solved via a good, standard, infrastructure. Writing the code to do the calculations is generally trivial – modern JavaScript is so powerful, with many powerful libraries. In this talk you will be shown the tools that could get you appifying your own science in a couple of afternoons. There’s one more thing: ‘If it’s not on YouTube then it doesn’t exist’, so putting your app onto YouTube greatly expands its reach.


Prof. Steven Abbott is well-known for his Practical Science website and YouTube channel where he tries to make powerful science usable to the wider community. He is a chemist with a PhD from Oxford/Harvard and after 30 years in industry (plus becoming a Visiting Professor at U Leeds) set up as a consultant to help troubleshoot problems around the world while attempting to give away his knowledge with free eBooks and apps.


By combining the two worlds of written documents and coding environments, Jupyter Notebook offers a hugh variety for explaining and training concepts of chemical engineering to students. In this way Jupyter Notebook can be used to explain theoretical and practical knowledge in a very apparent and comprehensible way, creates an environment for students to train these concepts in their own speed of learning, or give them full excersices to challange their knowledge. By desinging their own Notebooks students can independently work on topics of interest within the lecture. Therefore, we want to share our experiences in this talk of using Jupyter Notebook as an excelent tool for (online) teaching in chemical engineering classes during the last year.

Bio to follow


18:00 End of Workshop

Jointly organized by: