My long term research interests involve the development of improved engineering models and novel measurement techniques that would assist in design and optimization of engineering processes. The broader aim is to improve energy and production efficiencies in industrial processes which subsequently promote industry development. Use of computational techniques such as DEM and CFD has been my primary approach. Despite enormous amount of work on DEM and CFD, their applications to specific industrial processes still requires rigorous testing and validation studies, supported by deeper understanding of the phenomena involved. My academic training and research experience have provided me with a strong multidisciplinary background in engineering including electronics, applied mechanics, bio-systems engineering and process modelling.
As an MSc student at the University of the Witwatersrand, I successfully applied DEM for modelling and optimization of comminution process. This work was funded by South African mineral processing industry. My PhD research focused on developing novel techniques for control and optimization of milling circuits in mineral processing industries. I developed predictive models that relate significant features contained in the measured data to key mill operational variables. These models serve to provide insights of the process and thus they lay ground on which sound control schemes can be created for improved process performance. This work earned me an award by Claude Leon Foundation and National Research Foundation for novelty.
I have extended my research in computational methods to applications in agricultural and energy industry to address the challenges in the drying chain during postharvest processing and in combustion of biomass fuel in Fluidized bed combustors (FBC). My particular focus here is to investigate particulate flow in order to get deeper and clear understanding of the hydrodynamics inside these reactors. Understanding the parameters such as air velocity distribution, heat transfer profile and effect of bed geometry is fundamental in the design and reactors for combusting blended biomass fuel as well as drying applications of agro products.