Understanding and Improving Products and Processes

This is a particularly hot topic in the Pharmaceutical Industry where the demand for increased process efficiency, understanding and innovation is at the forefront of the Industry’s priorities.

New opportunities in biopharmaceuticals, nanotechnology and drug delivery, coupled with the need to embrace Process Analytical Technology, are key drivers for the Department’s research in Pharmaceutical Engineering.

Some current and recent areas of interest are listed below, many of which are relevant across other industrial sectors:

  • Understanding high shear and fluidised bed mixing and agglomeration.
  • Novel work on continuous agglomeration and coating in Wurster/spouted beds.
  • Modelling of pharmaceutical powders and tablet behaviour.
  • Novel supercritical technologies for the production of drug delivery systems, material processing and nanoparticle manufacture.
  • Improved functionality of micro-capsules and the development of improved microencapsulation techniques that have been widely applied and transferred to industry.
  • Fundamental understanding of the formulation of particulate products using spray coating, extrusion, tabletting and polymerization.


Fracture of a pharmaceutical tablet induced by the expansion of a simulated air-pocket. Image (left, above) from X-ray computed micro-tomography and corresponding stress concentration (left, below) obtained from finite element analysis.