Mechanical & Materials Engineering Department: Zahra Noori O’Connor - Mechanical Engineering PhD Thesis Defense

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PhD Thesis Defense 

Zahra Noori O’Connor

Friday, January 27, 2023

1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Please contact Zahra Noori O’Connor for link

znoori@wpi.edu

Advisor:  Professor Jamal Yagoobi

Co-advisor:  Professor Burt Tilley

Committee Member:  Professor Aswin Gnanaskandan

Committee Member:  Professor Juan Rodriquez Ramirez

Committee Member:  Dr. Kent Jewett

Graduate Committee Representative:  Professor Yuxiang Liu

 

Fundamental Understanding of Removal of Water from a Moist Porous Medium

in the Absence and Presence of Ultrasound Mechanism

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 dissertation 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 dissertation 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.

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Zahra Noori O’Connor