My research activity focuses on the design and optimisation of multiphase separations, combining novel experimental techniques and numerical modelling as tools for process and equipment evaluation and design. I am also interested in fundamental aspects of foam physics and bubble-particle interaction phenomena, as well as the development and application of multicriteria decision-support methods for equipment selection.
My work on froth flotation includes the modelling of complex phenomena in the pulp and froth zones (using the Finite Element Method and developing Population Balance modelling capabilities in Fluidity) and the use of experimental techniques to characterise these systems. I have led optimisation testwork at flotation plants worldwide to enhance metallurgical recovery and assess flotation cell design.
Froth flotation was the focus of one of the projects within the Rio Tinto Centre for Advanced Mineral Recovery and the study of two-phase foams and three-phase mineralised froths continues to be a key component of my research. A new H2020 project that will start later in 2019 will implement and scale up innovative technologies to enhance fine particle flotation and unlock fine grained deposits of critical raw materials.
MODELLING METALLURGICAL VARIABILITY
I am interested in developing modelling tools for assessing the impact of metallurgical variability on mineral processing operations. This topic is a key component of Horizon 2020 project IMPaCT (€7 million funding), for which mineral processing flowsheets will be developed with an emphasis on low impact solutions with regards to water, energy and environmental impact.
MINI-HYDROCYCLONES AND MULTICRITERIA DECISION ANALYSIS
I was a work package leader in PRODIAS ('Processing Diluted Aqueous Systems'), a €10 million project funded by the European Union with the aim of fostering competitiveness of the European process industry. The project focused on unlocking the potential of renewable based products made via industrial biotechnology by significantly decreasing production costs, increasing productivity and efficiency, lowering energy consumption, and accelerating process developments. I am particularly interested in the use of small hydrocyclones for dewatering and classification, as well as in the application of decision support techniques for the design of downstream processes and equipment selection.