PhD in Simulation of Particle Formation in Microfluidic Reactors KU Leuven, Leuven Process Engineering for Sustainable Systems Section Belgium




This work will be carried out as a PhD project in the Group of Transport Phenomena and Multiphase Systems at KU Leuven under the supervision of Prof. dr. Simon Kuhn. We also form part of the larger Process Engineering for Sustainable Systems (ProcESS) group at the Department of Chemical Engineering with expertise in process intensification, use of alternative energy sources and membrane technology.



Despite the many advantages of microchemical systems, their increased surface-to-volume ratio leads to difficulties in the handling of solid laden flows. This is especially problematic when solid particles are formed as a by-product of a chemical reaction. In these cases, the amount of solid by-product gradually increases along the axial extent of the microreactor, eventually leading to clogging of the microreactor channels. Specifically, bridging and constriction have been identified in earlier studies as candidate mechanisms for clogging. Being able to manage solid-laden flows is an important step in the batch to continuous transition.


In this project we will model flow systems containing fluids and particles in micro-scale geometries using a coupled discrete element method (DEM) / computational fluid dynamics (CFD) approach. In this method, the DEM part is used to solve the equation of motion for each particle, and the continuous fluid is described by solving the Navier-Stokes equations using CFD tools. The numerical work will be done using the open-source code OpenFOAM, which allows the implementation of new solvers and models, and thus represents a solid framework for code development. The obtained results will allow for the fundamental description and quantification of bridging and constriction events in solid-laden flows in microchannels and will provide guidelines for clogging prevention and design of flow reactors. One major outcome will be to relate the channel and particle surface properties to the clogging risk and operation time of micro-scale devices.



  • Requirement: PhD in Chemical or Mechanical Engineering
  • Knowledge of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and knowledge in C programming languages and Matlab
  • Adequate English (written and verbal communication) for scientific interactions required
  • Strong motivation is a must
  • Willingness to work at interdisciplinary boundaries


The successful candidate will be offered a post-doc position to become part of our international team with global research and industry links. Funding can be initially provided for a period of 1 year, with the option of extension to 2 years.



For more information please contact Prof. dr. ir. Simon Kuhn, mail:

You can apply for this job no later than May 31, 2018 via the online application tool

KU Leuven seeks to foster an environment where all talents can flourish, regardless of gender, age, cultural background, nationality or impairments. If you have any questions relating to accessibility or support, please contact us at

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