Dr. Matteo Pasquali
Professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department
Matteo Pasquali's research focuses on processing flows of microstructured liquids. Micro-structured liquids are ubiquitous in the chemical, polymer processing, coating, food, and biomedical industries. Theoretical and computational modeling of flow and transport in microstructured liquids will be a very important tool to design new processes and apparatus that can produce defect-free products at high rate with minimal environmental impact. Conventional transport laws based on classical irreversible thermodynamics fail to describe transport in liquids like polymer melts, solutions, blood, and dough. In recent years, two new approaches have appeared to model flow and transport in microstructured liquids. One method (mesoscopic) introduces field variables obeying transport equations to represent average local values of the liquid microstructure. The other method (micro-scopic) represents the microstructure by means of a large number of micromechanical contrivances distributed in the flow volume and following stochastic differential equations. The equations of the mesoscopic models include several phenomeno-logical coefficients, whereas the microscopic models depend on few parameters that can be estimated often from knowledge of the liquid's molecular structure. Microscopic models are presently impractical for process modeling because their equations are computationally much more expensive than those of the mesoscopic models.
Another important open problem in the study of polymeric liquid flow is the experimental determination of the interaction of flow and microstructure. Conventional techniques (e.g. flow birefringence) are now being ported from rheometric flows to prototype process flows. Meanwhile, new methods like fluorescence microscopy have proven effective to study the dynamics of polymeric liquids in rheometric flows.
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