Formulation and products

We have a strong track record in fundamental research into formulation and product engineering.

Our particular strength lies in mechanistic analysis, multiscale modelling, characterisation, optimisation and process innovation for formulated products.


Formulated products are structured materials designed to provide a useful function, and may exist as particles, pastes, emulsions or thin films, for example. These products are widely used in many industries, such as pharmaceuticals, fine chemicals (e.g. catalysts) and fast moving consumer goods.

Manufacture of functional products is often challenging, with the development of the feed material-process-product relationship being key to ensuring production provides the desired attributes.

Research activity

Our aim is to develop science-based predictive models, design tools and innovative manufacturing processes for formulated products. This is underpinned by our active research in particulate materials manufacturing, multiphase flow, advanced numerical modelling using coupled discrete element methods with computational fluid dynamics (DEM-CFD) and finite element modelling (FEM), process modelling and optimisation, and measurements and characterisation using advanced techniques such as x-ray computed microtomography, and positron emission particle tracking (PEPT).

Research projects

  • MATHEGRAM - Multiscale analysis of thermomechanical behaviour of granular materials. Funded by European Commission (EC) H2020 (No. 813202, $4,200,000) (Coordinator, 12.2018 - 11.2022)
  • DECRON - Development of eco-friendly ironmaking processes based on GPU-enhanced DEM-CFD modelling. Funded by European Commission (EC) H2020 (No. 747963, $195,454) (PI, 11.2017 - 10.2019)
  • Migration of pollutant particles in rivers: A multiscale approach. Royal Society International Newton Fellowship (NIFnR1n181640, $103,000) (PI, 12.2018 - 11.2020)
  • Die filling of Aerated fine powders. Funded by IFPRI
  • A holistic framework for hybrid modelling of solid-liquid Flows(EPSRC, EP/N033876, £337k) (09.2016 - 08.2020).  (Part of a $1.9m consortium with the University of Birmingham and Daresbury Laboratory)
  • Discrete computational modelling of twin screw granulation. (EPSRC, EP/M02976X, £335k) (10.2015 - 09.2019). (Part of a $1.5m consortium with the Universities of Birmingham and Sheffield)
  • Flowability assessment of weakly consolidated powders. Funded by IFPRI
  • Characterising powder flow in dynamic processes. Funded by Corning
  • Novel formulations for effective and stable skin delivery of anti-aging nutrientsFunded by EPSRC IAA
  • IPROCOM – The development of in silico process models for roll compaction. Funded by EC FP7-ITN with a total budget of £3.8€. Coordinated by CPE
  • ThermoPC – Thermomechanical modelling of powder compaction. Funded by EC FP7-IEF
  • Development of predictive models for manufacturing bilayer pharmaceutical tablets. Funded by MSD
  • Wet granulation of milk blends. Funded by Unilever
  • P9 AMIRA project  - the optimisation of mineral processing by modelling and simulationFunded by more than 20 multi-national mining companies, 2011-2015. The total funding is A$10.4M and the funding for ore breakage characterisation theme is A$1M
  • CSIRO Cluster Project on Preconcentration and Agglomeration to Enhance Heap Leaching of Nickel Laterite, The total funding for the Cluster is $3.05million and funding for Dr. Liu’s team was A$310k
  • Low cost carbon based catalyst for polymer membrane fuel cellsFunded by H2FC SUPERGEN Hub, £100 k
  • Designing nanoporous carbon materials as anode materials for sodium ion batteries(EPSRC, EP/M027066/1, £100 k)
  • PhD project on the development of electrode formulation for sodium ion batteries
  • Two BBSRC CASE PhD projects in the area of dermal absorption of topically delivered products
  • EPSRC EngD project in modelling moisture migration in food materials


Particle characterisation:

  • Size and shape distribution; 0.5 – 30,000 μm (QicPic)
  • Moisture content (Mettler Toledo)

Powder flowability:

  • Schulze RST.XS.s shear cell; 0.1 – 20 kPa
  • Freeman FT4 Powder Rheometer; dynamic flowability, permeability, aeration
  • Funnel flow testers (Granuflow, Flowdex)
  • Custom-built die filling systems; linear (passive) and rotational (active)

Particle breakage:

  • Conical mill (Erweka CM 60)
  • Rotary cutting mill

Other facilities:

  • Temperature and humidity conditioning
  • Roller compactors
  • High speed camera (Phantom v1612)
  • DEM and DEM-CFD simulation software: EDEM, Rocky DEM, BlazeDEM, ABAqus, Star-CCM
  • Instron mechanical testing machines
  • Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)

Key publications

Zakhvatayeva A., Zhong W., Makroo H.A., Hare C., Wu C. (2018) An experimental study of die filling of pharmaceutical powders using a rotary die filling systemInternational Journal of Pharmaceutics 553 (1-2) pp. 84-96 Elsevier

Yu P., Weiguo X, Liu L.X., Hilden M., Powell M. (2018) Evolution of a generic, dynamic, and multicomponent tumbling mill model structure incorporating a wide-range 4D appearance function, Powder Technology 339 pp. 396-407 Elsevier

Yu P., Weiguo X, Liu L.X., Powell M. (2018) Applying Fréchet distance to evaluate the discrepancy of product size distribution between single particle breakage and monolayer multi-particle breakage, Powder Technology (In press) Elsevier

Zafar U., Hare C., Hassanpour A., Ghadiri M. (2017) Ball Indentation on Powder Beds for Assessing Powder Flowability: Analysis of Operation Window, Powder Technology 310 pp. 300-306 Elsevier

Seville J.P.K., Wu C.Y. (2016) Particle Technology and Engineering, Elsevier, London. ISBN: 9780080983370

Ojha V.K., Schiano S, Wu C.Y., Snasel V, Abraham A. (2016) Predictive modeling of die lling of the pharmaceutical granules using the flexible neural tree, Neural Computing and Applications pp. 1-15

Hare C., Zafar U., Ghadiri M., Freeman T., Clayton J., Murtagh M.J. (2015) Analysis of the dynamics of the FT4 powder rheometer, Powder Technology 285 pp. 123-127 Elsevier

Pei C., Wu C.Y., Engaland D., Byard S., Berchtold H., Adams M. (2015) DEM-CFD modeling of particle systems with long-range electrostatic interactions, AIChE J. 61(6) pp. 1792-1803

Pasha M., Dogbe S., Hare C., Hassanpour A., Ghadiri M. (2014) A linear model of elasto-plastic and adhesive contact deformation, Granular Matter 16 (1) pp. 151-162

Liu L.X., Marziano I., Bentham A.C.,Litster J.D., White E.T., Howes, T. (2013) Influence of particle size on the direct compression of ibuprofen and its binary mixtures, Powder Technology 240 pp. 66-73.


Note: full publication lists of each academic are given on their individual profile pages