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  3. Particle Mechanics and Processing

Particle Mechanics and Processing (CHEN90018)

Graduate courseworkPoints: 12.5On Campus (Parkville)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelGraduate coursework
Subject codeCHEN90018
Semester 1
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date


This subject covers many of the aspects related to powder and suspension processing. Initially, the student learns how to describe particles and systems of particles in terms of size, shape and distribution, followed by understanding the basic mechanics of fluid flow around particles. This knowledge is used as the basis for designing unit operations associated with powders and suspensions, including particle classification, particle breakage (comminution) and agglomeration, solid-liquid separation through filtration, centrifugation and thickening, packed beds and fluidisation, flotation and powder storage in hoppers.

The combination and variety of topics in this subject provides students with an appreciation of particulate processing. This knowledge is vital for numerous industries including (but not limited to) mineral processing, potable water treatment, wastewater treatment, food and pharmaceuticals.


  • Particle size and measurement of particle size, shape factors, differential and cumulative distributions, mean size, median size and surface area
  • Generalised description of separation and classification efficiency based on particle size, density and composition. Hydrocyclones, screens and data reconciliation for particulate separators, including the two product formula
  • Comminution, Bond work index, matrix description of size reduction and milling circuit simulation, comminution circuits and liberation of particles from composite particles
  • Flow properties of solids, design of bins and hoppers, mass and channel flow
  • Solid-liquid separation including flocculation processes, gravity sedimentation, clarification, thickening and pressure filtration
  • Motion of particles in fluids, fluidisation, minimum fluidisation velocity and bed expansion, flow of fluids through granular beds.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this subject the student is expected to:

  • Be able to describe particles and systems of particles and appreciate the flow behaviour of particulate materials
  • Design unit operations associated with particulate powders and slurries common to the materials, food, water, pharmaceuticals and minerals processing industries
  • Appraise different proposals for unit operations in comminution and particle liberation, particle separation, hopper flow, solid-liquid separation
  • Be able to design unit operations involving fluidisation and flow through packed beds

Generic skills

  • Ability to undertake problem identification, formulation and solution through application of knowledge of basic science and engineering fundamentals
  • Capacity for independent thought
  • Awareness of advanced technologies in the discipline
  • Ability and self confidence to comprehend complex concepts, to express them lucidly and to confront unfamiliar problems.

Last updated: 30 July 2019