Development of a Software Model for Grain Particle Residence Time

Location: Sydney & Coorannbong Research Facility, NSW

Duration: 5 months

Project Background

During flake biscuit breakfast cereal manufacture cooked wheat must have its moisture level reduced for processing. This is done by air flow drying in a traditional style conditioner with rotating paddles. The effect of different parameter settings (such a paddle speed and angel) on grain particle moisture distribution has not been modelled for our type of conditioner so optimising moisture is largely by intuition. A software model of the residence time of grain particles (ie time in minutes (x) versus percent of grain particles (y) in the conditioner as a function of different parameter settings would enable better optimisation of the drying process. This has the potential to reduce wastage and improve processing time in the manufacture of flaked grain breakfast cereals.

Similar traditional conditioner type drying equipment has been used in the coffee bean processing and malting industries for some time. It is likely that relevant processing models have been published that could provide useful insights and starting points for this project.

Sanitarium is looking for a PhD qualified chemical or processing engineer or physicist that may have experience in computational fluid dynamics of similar area to write a software program that could be used to model grain movement within the conditioner during drying.

Research to be Conducted

The primary objective of this project is to develop a software program that will utilise processing inputs combined with conditioner geometry to model the movement of grain particles through the drying conditioner.

And secondly, from this model predict the residence curve for the particles for different processing inputs and geometries.

Sanitarium has a pilot plant with a pilot conditioner dryer that can be used in the project and can provide experimental data as well as industrial data for the inputs involved. Sanitarium can provide a standard PC laptop for the intern. Sanitarium has two PhD qualified chemical engineers and two senior food technologists who are familiar with the conditioner inputs for this unit operation who can assist with the project. We currently do not have the computer modelling skills to derive a software model from an understanding of the flow dynamics and geometry involved.

Skills Required

If you’re a PhD student and meet some or all the below we want to hear from you. We strongly encourage women, indigenous and disadvantaged candidates to apply:

  • High level of mathematical modelling and computer program writing
  • Knowledge of Engineering fundamentals
  • Knowledge of chemical engineering unit operations

Expected Outcomes

The final output expected from the intern is:

  • A model computer program that will run on a PC with commercially available operating systems.
  • A word or PDF file setting out the operating instruction and input formats and units for the model computer program.
  • A PowerPoint presentation outlining the aim , methodology and results of the project.
  • Demonstration of the use of the program to relevant Sanitarium staff

Additional Details

The intern will receive $3,000 per month of the internship, usually in the form of stipend payments.

It is expected that the intern will primarily undertake this research project during regular business hours, spending at least 80% of their time on-site with the industry partner.  The intern will be expected to maintain contact with their academic mentor throughout the internship either through face-to-face or phone meetings as appropriate.

The intern and their academic mentor will have the opportunity to negotiate the project’s scope, milestones and timeline during the project planning stage.

Applications Close

29 January 2020


APR – 0835