Process System Engineering

Specific mission

The research activity of the Process Systems Engineering Group is focused on the use of mathematical models for (i) the design and optimization of manufacturing processes and (ii) the development of advanced systems for process monitoring and control.
Drying of pharmaceutical products, foodstuffs, paper and archival material, as well as nanoparticles synthesis for the delivery of active molecules are currently the main topic of investigation.
Both first-principle and black-box models are used: while the first are based on energy/mass/momentum balances, the second group is based on experimentally measured variables, used to get PCA (Principal Component Analysis) /PLS (Partial least squares) models, as well as ANN (Artificial Neural Network) or fuzzy-logic based systems.

Main research topics

  • Modeling, optimization, monitoring and control of chemical processes.
  • Development of Process Analytical Technology for non-invasive process monitoring, e.g. using image analysis.
  • Design of statistical process controllers for quality monitoring.
  • Use of micro-reactors for the synthesis of polymeric nanoparticles used for the delivery of active molecules.
  • Investigation of the release of active molecules from polymeric nanoparticles using dialysis.
  • Freeze-drying cycle design for pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs and nanoparticles containing suspensions.
  • Investigation of the effect of the freeze-drying process on the critical quality attributes of the product being processed (e.g. nutritional properties in case of foodstuffs).
  • Development of monitoring and control systems for freeze-drying processes.
  • Investigation of innovative freeze-dryers designed to process a small amount of active pharmaceutical ingredients.
  • Paper and archival material recovery after flooding.

Possible Applications

  • chemical industry
  • pharmaceuticals manufacturing
  • food processing
  • paper and archival material recovery after flooding

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)

Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Main partnerships

  • Research Group “Applied mathematics and control theory”, Department of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA.
  • Research Group “Analysis and Simulation of Agro-food Processes”, Food Technology Department, Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain.
  • Research Group “Multivariate Statistical Engineering”, Department of Applied Statistic, Operations Research and Quality, Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain.
  • Research Group “Pharmaceutical Technology and Biopharmaceutics”, Department of Pharmacy, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Germany.
  • Research Group “Unit of Pharmaceutical Technology”, Department of Pharmacy, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina.
  • Institute for Sustainable Plant Protection, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), Italy.
  • Research Group “Bioengineering”, Department of Applied Science and Technology, Politecnico di Torino, Italy.
  • Research Group “Low Frequency Measurement”, Department of Electronics and Telecommunications, Politecnico di Torino, Italy.
  • Research Group “GRAphics and INtelligent Systems”, Department of Control and Computer Engineering, Politecnico di Torino, Italy.

Projects and publications

Reference laboratories

PhD, Post-docs and Grant researchers