Dr Tom Mills MEng, PhD

Dr Tom Mills

School of Chemical Engineering
Senior Lecturer

Contact details

School of Chemical Engineering
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Tom Mills is a lecturer in the area of Food Manufacture and Performance, Chemical Engineering.  His primary research interests are firstly in the area of in-vitro methods to study the mouth, focusing on tribology as a method to look at thin film and lubrication behaviour.  Secondly, in addition to this he is currently leading projects around edible 3D printing technologies, saturated fat crystallisation and emulsifier performance, the production and behaviour of particle stabilised emulsion systems and particulate fluid gels. The aim of this research as a whole is to understand material property and behaviour from initial formulation through production and into breakdown and in-mouth experience. Projects focusing on individual areas and spanning these key environments are of interest for further study at doctoral level.


  • Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice, University of Birmingham, 2015
  • PhD in Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham, 2012
  • MEng (Hons) in Chemical Engineering University of Birmingham, 2007


Tom Mills qualified with an MEng(Hons) in chemical engineering from the University of Birmingham in 2007.  He went on to study for a PhD at the University of Birmingham with Dr Serafim Bakalis and Prof. Ian Norton on development of in-vitro mouth methods. He now works as a senior lecturer in the area of food manufacture and performance.


Teaching Programmes

  • Food Structure for Performance  (M Level module) (Module coordinator)
  • Mass, Heat and Momentum Transfer (Level I) (Module coordinator)
  • Computing for Design (Level I) (Module coordinator)
  • Design Project (Level H)
  • Research Project (Level M)

Postgraduate supervision


  • Supercritical drying of food products (EPSRC)
  • Drying and rehydration of emulsion systems (EPSRC)
  • 3D Printing of edible materials (EPSRC)
  • Fluid gel emulsion systems (Industry Funded)
  • Understanding the key drivers of crispness attributes (Industry Funded, EngD)
  • Rheological design of biopolymer composites for application in 3D jet based printing (EPSRC)
  • Glassy state control of food biopolymer fibres for extrusion printing (EPSRC)
  • Understanding low alcohol beer brewing


Research Themes


Microstructure design and novel processing routes to food emulsion systems

Hydrocolloid/Fluid gels

Functional hydrocolloids and gel particulate systems to provide novel microstructures and performance in-vivo


Friction and lubrication measurements related to oral processing and tongue palate interactions

In-Vitro Mouth Methods

Development of methods to relate to oral processing phenomena 

3D Printing 

Material and production technologies for edible 3D printing  


Recent publications


Noon, J, Mills, T & Norton, I 2020, 'The use of antioxidant rutin hydrate Pickering particles to combat lipid oxidation in O/W emulsions', Journal of Food Engineering.

Taylor, B & Mills, T 2020, 'Using a three-ball-on-plate configuration for soft tribology applications', Journal of Food Engineering, vol. 274.

Voong, KY, Norton-Welch, A, Mills, TB & Norton, IT 2019, 'Understanding and predicting sensory crispness of deep-fried battered and breaded coatings', Journal of Texture Studies, vol. 50, no. 6, pp. 456-464. https://doi.org/10.1111/jtxs.12456

Gholamipour-Shirazi, A, Norton, IT & Mills, T 2019, 'Designing hydrocolloid based food-ink formulations for extrusion 3D printing', Food Hydrocolloids, vol. 95, pp. 161-167. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodhyd.2019.04.011

Kanyuck, K, Mills, T, Norton, I & Norton-Welch, A 2019, 'Temperature influences on network formation of low DE maltodextrin gels', Carbohydrate Polymers, vol. 218, pp. 170-178. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.carbpol.2019.04.039

Warner, EL, Norton, IT & Mills, TB 2019, 'Comparing the viscoelastic properties of gelatin and different concentrations of kappa-carrageenan mixtures for additive manufacturing applications', Journal of Food Engineering, vol. 246, pp. 58-66. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jfoodeng.2018.10.033

Ellis, AL, Mills, TB, Norton, IT & Norton-welch, AB 2019, 'The hydrophobic modification of kappa carrageenan microgel particles for the stabilisation of foams', Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, vol. 538, pp. 165-173. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcis.2018.11.091

Ellis, AL, Mills, TB, Norton, IT & Norton-Welch, AB 2019, 'The effect of sugars on agar fluid gels and the stabilisation of their foams', Food Hydrocolloids, vol. 87, pp. 371-381. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodhyd.2018.08.027

Cassanelli, M, Prosapio, V, Norton, I & Mills, T 2019, 'Role of the drying technique on the low-acyl gellan gum gel structure: molecular and macroscopic investigations', Food and Bioprocess Technology, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 313–324. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11947-018-2210-6

Rolls, ET, Mills, T, Norton-Welch, A, Lazidis, A & Norton, I 2018, 'The Neuronal Encoding of Oral Fat by the Coefficient of Sliding Friction in the Cerebral Cortex and Amygdala', Cerebral Cortex, vol. 28, no. 11, pp. 4080–4089. https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhy213

Cassanelli, M, Prosapio, V, Norton, I & Mills, T 2018, 'Acidified/basified gellan gum gels: The role of the structure in drying/rehydration mechanisms', Food Hydrocolloids, vol. 82, pp. 346-354. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodhyd.2018.04.024

Cassanelli, M, Norton, I & Mills, T 2018, 'Interaction of Mannitol and Sucrose with Gellan Gum in Freeze-Dried Gel Systems', Food Biophysics, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 304-315. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11483-018-9536-5

Cassanelli, M, Prosapio, V, Norton, I & Mills, T 2018, 'Design of a Cost-Reduced Flexible Plant for Supercritical Fluid-Assisted Applications', Chemical Engineering and Technology, vol. 41, no. 7, pp. 1368-1377. https://doi.org/10.1002/ceat.201700487

Voong, KY, Norton, AB, Mills, TB & Norton, IT 2018, 'Characterisation of deep-fried batter and breaded coatings', Food Structure, vol. 16, pp. 43-49. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foostr.2018.03.002

Cassanelli, M, Norton, I & Mills, T 2018, 'Role of gellan gum microstructure in freeze drying and rehydration mechanisms', Food Hydrocolloids, vol. 75, pp. 51-61. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodhyd.2017.09.013

View all publications in research portal