Dr Tom Mills MEng, PhD

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.

Tom is also a prominent member of the Formulation Engineering Research group. By developing new formulation engineering methods and techniques, the team is creating cutting-edge and novel approaches to food processing and the development of healthier, higher performance products.

In addition to this, Tom leads 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


Holt, T & Mills, T 2023, 'Tribo-rheology of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beer', Journal of the Institute of Brewing, vol. 129, no. 3, pp. 164-175. https://doi.org/10.58430/jib.v129i3.31

Kamlow, M-A, Holt, T, Spyropoulos, F & Mills, T 2022, 'Release and co-release of model hydrophobic and hydrophilic actives from 3D printed kappa-carrageenan emulsion gels', Food Hydrocolloids, vol. 132, 107852. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodhyd.2022.107852

Kanyuck, KM, Mills, TB, Norton, IT & Norton-Welch, AB 2022, 'Release of glucose and maltodextrin DE 2 from gellan gum gels and the impacts of gel structure', Food Hydrocolloids, vol. 122, 107090. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodhyd.2021.107090

Kamlow, M-A, Vadodaria, S, Gholamipour-shirazi, A, Spyropoulos, F & Mills, T 2021, '3D printing of edible hydrogels containing thiamine and their comparison to cast gels', Food Hydrocolloids, vol. 116, 106550. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodhyd.2020.106550

Kamlow, M-A, Spyropoulos, F & Mills, T 2021, '3D printing of kappa-carrageenan emulsion gels', Food Hydrocolloids for Health, vol. 1, 100044. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fhfh.2021.100044

Daffner, K, Ong, L, Hanssen, E, Gras, S & Mills, T 2021, 'Characterising the influence of milk fat towards an application for extrusion-based 3D-printing of casein−whey protein suspensions via the pH−temperature-route', Food Hydrocolloids, vol. 118, 106642. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodhyd.2021.106642

Vadodaria, SS, Warner, E, Norton, I & Mills, TB 2021, 'Design data for the 3D printer modification to print gels and pastes and the corresponding firmware', Data in Brief, vol. 36, 106974. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dib.2021.106974

Gholamipour-Shirazi, A, Norton, IT & Mills, T 2021, 'Dual stimuli-sensitive carrageenan-based formulation for additive manufacturing', International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, vol. 189, pp. 370-379. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2021.08.127

Fenton, T, Daffner, K, Mills, T, Pelan, E & Gholamipour Shirazi, A 2021, 'Formulation and additive manufacturing of polysaccharide-surfactant hybrid gels as gelatin analogues in food applications', Food Hydrocolloids, vol. 120, 106881. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodhyd.2021.106881

Fenton, T, Kanyuck, K, Mills, T & Pelan, E 2021, 'Formulation and characterisation of kappa-carrageenan gels with non-ionic surfactant for melting-triggered controlled release', Carbohydrate Polymer Technologies and Applications, vol. 2, 10060. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.carpta.2021.100060

Young, PW, Mills, TB & Norton, IT 2021, 'Influence of pH on fluid gels produced from egg and whey protein isolate', Food Hydrocolloids, vol. 111, 106108. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodhyd.2020.106108

Kanyuck, KM, Norton-Welch, AB, Mills, TB & Norton, IT 2021, 'Structural characterization of interpenetrating network formation of high acyl gellan and maltodextrin gels', Food Hydrocolloids, vol. 112, 106295. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodhyd.2020.106295

Kanyuck, KM, Mills, TB, Norton, IT & Norton-Welch, AB 2021, 'Swelling of high acyl gellan gum hydrogel: characterization of network strengthening and slower release', Carbohydrate Polymers, vol. 259, 117758. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.carbpol.2021.117758

Vadodaria, SS, Warner, E, Norton, I & Mills, TB 2021, 'Thermoreversible gels – optimisation of processing parameters in fused deposition modelling', Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, vol. 618, 126399. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.colsurfa.2021.126399

Daffner, K, Vadodaria, S, Ong, L, Nöbel, S, Gras, S, Norton, I & Mills, T 2020, 'Design and characterization of casein-whey protein suspensions via the pH-temperature-route for application in extrusion-based 3D-Printing', Food Hydrocolloids, vol. 112, 105850, pp. 105850. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodhyd.2020.105850

View all publications in research portal