Mechanical Engineering Graduate Seminar Series: Fundamental Understanding of Removal of Water from a Moist Porous Medium in the Absence and Presence of Ultrasound Mechanism, Dr. Zahra Noori O'Connor, WPI

Wednesday, March 22, 2023
10:00 am to 10:50 am
Floor/Room #
Room 229

Abstract: In energy-hungry industry sectors such as papermaking, food processing, chemicals, or pharmaceuticals, the main challenge is to improve the energy efficiency of the process. For example, in the fabrication of paper, a slurry with cellulose fibers and other matter is drained, pressed, and dried. The latter step requires a considerable energy consumption. Therefore, improving the current drying technologies as well as developing novel and more efficient drying technologies is essential in the related industries. One of the main goals of this research is to improve the energy efficiency of the current drying technologies and understand the dominant mechanisms in paper drying. The focus is on the intermediate stage of drying, where the remaining free water is either present on the surfaces of the fibers in the form of a liquid film or the water is trapped inside the cellulose fibers. To help with innovation and electrification of drying/dehydration processes, another main goal of this research is to develop a non-thermal drying technology that improves the energy efficiency and product quality, significantly in high energy industry sectors such as papermaking. The current drying technique in the papermaking industry is contact drying, which depends on the conductive and/or convective heat transfer. In this study, for the first time, a systematic study is conducted using a novel technology for paper drying by applying ultrasound mechanism, both direct-contact and non-contact (airborne). Specially, for airborne ultrasound, there are limited information available in the literature. The advantages of ultrasonic drying include greater energy efficiency, lower time and temperature of drying, improvement of the product quality, and it is considered a green and sustainable technology.

Bio: Dr. Zahra Noori O’Connor has recently defended her Ph.D. dissertation in Mechanical Engineering at WPI. Her Ph.D. advisor is Professor Jamal Yagoobi, and her co-advisor is Professor Burt Tilley. Her Ph.D. research is mainly focused on both numerical and experimental studies of multiphase and multiphysics heat and mass transfer phenomena, in the absence and presence of ultrasound mechanism. She is actively engaged in research projects that are funded by the Center for Advanced Research in Drying (CARD), the US Department of Energy (DOE), and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and she was awarded a prestigious NSF-funded internship at Mondelez International. Dr. Noori O’Connor was selected as the TA of the year in Mechanical Engineering in 2019 and during her Ph.D., she was a three-time first place winner in the Graduate Research Innovation Exchange (GRIE) and two-time first place winner in the Annual Sustainability Project Competition at WPI. She has also served as the mentorship chair in Society of Women in Mechanical and Materials Engineering (WMME) at WPI.

Contact Person
Prof. Lin Cheng