Processes2016, 4(3), 25; doi:10.3390/pr4030025 - published 11 August 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Delivery systems with a solid dispersed phase can be produced in a melt emulsification process. For this, dispersed particles are melted, disrupted, and crystallized in a liquid continuous phase (melt emulsification). Different to bulk crystallization, droplets in oil-in-water emulsions show individual crystallization behavior, which differs from droplet to droplet. Therefore, emulsion droplets may form liquid, amorphous, and crystalline structures during the crystallization process. The resulting particle size, shape, and physical state influence the application properties of these colloidal systems and have to be known in formulation research. To characterize crystallization behavior of single droplets in micro emulsions (range 1 µm to several hundred µm), a direct thermo-optical method was developed. It allows simultaneous determination of size, size distribution, and morphology of single droplets within droplet clusters. As it is also possible to differentiate between liquid, amorphous, and crystalline structures, we introduce a crystallization index, CIi, in dispersions with a crystalline dispersed phase. Application of the thermo-optical approach on hexadecane-in-water model emulsion showed the ability of the method to detect single crystallization events of droplets within emulsion clusters, providing detailed information about crystallization processes in dispersions.
Processes2016, 4(3), 23; doi:10.3390/pr4030023 - published 25 July 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This contribution describes a novel process systems engineering framework that couples advanced control with sustainability evaluation for the optimization of process operations to minimize environmental impacts associated with products, materials and energy. The implemented control strategy combines a biologically-inspired method with optimal control concepts for finding more sustainable operating trajectories. The sustainability assessment of process operating points is carried out by using the U.S. EPA’s Gauging Reaction Effectiveness for the ENvironmental Sustainability of Chemistries with a multi-Objective Process Evaluator (GREENSCOPE) tool that provides scores for the selected indicators in the economic, material efficiency, environmental and energy areas. The indicator scores describe process performance on a sustainability measurement scale, effectively determining which operating point is more sustainable if there are more than several steady states for one specific product manufacturing. Through comparisons between a representative benchmark and the optimal steady states obtained through the implementation of the proposed controller, a systematic decision can be made in terms of whether the implementation of the controller is moving the process towards a more sustainable operation. The effectiveness of the proposed framework is illustrated through a case study of a continuous fermentation process for fuel production, whose material and energy time variation models are characterized by multiple steady states and oscillatory conditions.
Processes2016, 4(3), 22; doi:10.3390/pr4030022 - published 22 July 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Despite continuous research effort, patients with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D) experience difficulties in daily adjustments of their blood glucose concentrations. New technological developments in the form of implanted intravenous infusion pumps and continuous blood glucose sensors might alleviate obstacles for the automatic adjustment of blood glucose concentration. These obstacles consist, for example, of large time-delays and insulin storage effects for the subcutaneous/interstitial route. Towards the goal of an artificial pancreas, we present a novel feedback controller approach that combines classical loop-shaping techniques with gain-scheduling and modern -robust control approaches. A disturbance rejection design is proposed in discrete frequency domain based on the detailed model of the diabetic Göttingen minipig. The model is trimmed and linearised over a large operating range of blood glucose concentrations and insulin sensitivity values. Controller parameters are determined for each of these operating points. A discrete loop-shaping compensator is designed to increase robustness of the artificial pancreas against general coprime factor uncertainty. The gain scheduled controller uses subcutaneous insulin injection as a control input and determines the controller input error from intravenous blood glucose concentration measurements, where parameter scheduling is achieved by an estimator of the insulin sensitivity parameter. Thus, only one controller stabilises a family of animal models. The controller is validated in silico with a total number of five Göttingen Minipig models, which were previously obtained by experimental identification procedures. Its performance is compared with an experimentally tested switching PI-controller.
Processes2016, 4(3), 21; doi:10.3390/pr4030021 - published 15 July 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: There is currently much interest in pomegranate juice because of the high content of phenolic compounds. Moreover, the interest in the separation of bioactive compounds from natural sources has remarkably grown. In this work, for the first time, the Punica granatum L. (pomegranate) juice—clarified by using polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) and polysulfone (PSU) hollow fiber (HF) membranes prepared in the laboratory—was screened for its antioxidant properties by using different in vitro assays, namely 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH), 2,2'-azino-bis-(3-ethylbenzothiazoline-6-sulphonic acid) (ABTS), Ferric Reducing Antioxidant Power (FRAP), and β-carotene bleaching tests, and for its potential inhibitory activity of the carbohydrate-hydrolysing enzymes, α-amylase and α-glucosidase. The effects of clarification on quality characteristics of the juice were also investigated in terms of total phenols, flavonoids, anthocyanins, and ascorbic acid. Experimental results indicated that PVDF membranes presented a lower retention towards healthy phytochemicals in comparison to PSU membranes. Accordingly, the juice clarified with PVDF membranes showed the best antioxidant activity. Moreover, the treatment with PVDF membranes produced a clarified juice with 2.9-times fold higher α-amylase inhibitory activity in comparison to PSU (IC50 value of 75.86 vs. 221.31 μg/mL, respectively). The same trend was observed using an α-glucosidase inhibition test. These results highlight the great potential of the clarified juice as a source of functional constituents.