Fernando J. Muzzio 


B.S., University of Mar del Plata, Argentina, 1985
Ph. D., University of Massachusetts, 1991

Tel: (732) 445-3357
Fax: (732) 445-2421
email: muzzio@sol.rutgers.edu

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Mixing in reactive and multiphase flows, blending of dry powders, applications of the fundamental
concepts of chaos theory.
The Industrial importance of mixing can hardly be exaggerated. Reactive flow processes are essential to the manufacture of an immense variety of industrial products worth hundreds of billions of dollars per year. Chemical, petrochemical, and pharmaceutical processes usually require bringing reactants into close contact by imposing a mixing flow. For fast reactions or viscous fluids, mixing is often slow compared to the rate of reaction, and several important effects are frequently observed: desired reactions are slowed and even halted before reaching completion, undesired reactions are enhanced, and product selectivity is decreased. Poor yield and reduced selectivity due to inefficient mixing directly results in excessive production of waste requiring disposal, rework, or unproductive downstream processing, greater separation costs, greater use of (often toxic) solvents, and widespread damage to the environment. Hence, better designed and controlled mixing processes could lead to significant pollution prevention. However, reactive mixing in realistic flow systems is poorly understood. Even the simplest case, mixing of soluble fluids, involves four non-linearly coupled processes: convection, stretching, diffusion, and chemical reaction. These processes typically generate partially mixed structures that exhibit strong variability in local composition. Chemical reactions taking place in such an inhomogeneous environment often exhibit spatially dependent rates. Given this level of complexity, it is not surprising that reactive mixing processes have so far eluded detailed quantification. Our research involves an experimental and computational investigation of mixing in several reactive systems including: stirred tank reactors, partitioned pipe mixers and roller bottles. The fundamental concepts of chaos theory are used to characterize the state of mixing and to optimize reactor performance. 

Blending of particles is an important operation in many industrial operations. In these systems, process performance depends strongly on the degree of homogeneity achieved during blending. The components requiring blending are usually powders of different size and/or density. Under such conditions, ultimate mixture homogeneity cannot be taken for granted; quite the opposite, unless the blending process is properly designed and controlled, the result is often a mixture with significant composition fluctuations throughout the powder bed. Such fluctuations can cause excessive variability in the composition of end products, requiring whole batches of products to be either reworked or disposed, increasing both the cost and the environmental impact of the production process. Our research focuses on the application of fundamental concepts from chaos theory to enhance powder blending performance in industrial applications and on the development of accurate particle sampling techniques and methods for quantifying the extent of mixedness in powder systems. 

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Recent Publications 

Experimentally  Validated Computations of Flow, Mixing, and Segregation of Non- cohesive Grains in 3D Tumbling Blenders, Powder Technology,
accepted for publication, T. Shinbrot, M. Moakher, and F.J. Muzzio

Method of Chaotic Mixing and Improved Stirred Tank Reactors, U.S. Patent (1999)
No. 5,921,679, (14 claims) F.J. Muzzio and D. J. Lamberto

Spontaneous Chaotic Granular Mixing, Nature 397, 676 (1999), T.
Shinbrot, A.Alexander, and F.J. Muzzio.

 Self-Similar Spatio- temporal Structure of Intermaterial Boundaries in Chaotic Flows, Physical Review Letters 81, 3395 (1998), M.M. Alvarez, F.J. Muzzio (*), S. Cerbelli, A. Adrover, and M. Giona.