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Jun 2018

A look into tomography research at RMIT- An interview with Muthu Pannirselvam

Building upon the excellent previous interviews (which you can find here), ITS is pleased to showcase our latest user interview with another very talented professional, Muthu Pannirselvam. Known for his work at RMIT University and his knowledge of mixing and multiphase flow systems, we had the pleasure of sitting down with Mr Pannirselvam to discuss his role within RMIT’s labs and its research:

Name: Muthu Pannirselvam

What is your current position?

Professional officer managing a research facility that acts as a gateway between RMIT and Australian industries.

Which tomography instrumentation do you use? – How long have you been using electrical tomography for your research?

P2+ – eight plane system with a 25 cm diameter vessel connected with eight planes of electrodes. We have been using ITS’ systems since 2012.









What research interests do you hold?

• Mixing and flow patterns of solutions
• Radial flow of fluids
• Pumping of food materials (low to high viscousity) that directly benefits food industries in particular dairy industries
• Validation of relationship between microstructure and rheology (flow behaviour)
• Effects of crystals and amorphous regions in the materials
• Map the distribution of components and fluid flow
• Characterisation of solid-liquid and liquid-liquid flows
• Behaviour of materials between an ideal solid (Hookean) and an ideal liquid (Newtonian)

 What are the daily operations in your work area ?

• Provide high level materials characterisation expertise, advice and assistance to analytical instrumentation laboratory users, to enable them to undertake research using a range of instrumentation techniques available in the hub
• Provide training and supervision of users in the safe and effective operation of analytical instruments available in the hub
• Collaborate with researchers on specific research projects, develop seminars and workshops and to provide guidance and training in materials characterisation as required
• Provide support to the analytical instrumentation hub manager in administering the instrumentation including the website and OHS procedures such as creating risk assessments, safe work instructions for instruments and materials in the hub
• demonstrate and provide guidance to post-graduate students and undergraduate students in the use of rheological, particle size, thermal, mechanical, spectroscopy, tomography and microscopy equipment and appropriate measurement techniques
• arrange service and maintenance of major equipment in the laboratory and recommend their replacement or upgrade as appropriate to the current and future demands
• Liaise with academic and research staff in the planning and projects associated with instrument purchases and instrument requirements including CAPEX
• Conduct research consultancy as required by academics and researchers
• Provide OHS induction and training to staff, students and researchers, contractors and visitors to the analytical instrumentation hub, identify deficiencies in knowledge and update staff with current OHS information and requirements
• assist the users to identify hazards involved in their research projects: biohazards, dangerous goods, mists, fumes, dusts, temperature, radiation, pressure, pneumatics, electrical, mechanical, manual handling

How has your tomography system benefited your present research?

• P2+ is one of the state-of-the-art instruments available in the facility that I manage. This instrument helped several researchers that are directly involved in industry and Australian federal government funded projects. ERT is one of the special tools that allows the users to visualise what is happening inside the vessel and analyse the data outputted by the system. This information is very valuable for the monitoring and troubleshooting of processes.
• I look forward to seeing this instrument also being used in food industries across Australia. At this stage, the research results produced from this equipment have directly supported a few major clean water industries in Australia.

How has your tomography system benefited your facility users ?
It certainly has benefited the academics involved in mixing and monitoring of multiphase processes and provided valuable insights in to our research.

What have you accomplished by using an ITS system?
This working principle of this instrument is simple to understand as the concept is based on Ohm’s law (Voltage = current x resistance). The software p2+ is very sophisticated and needs special expertise to provide clear inputs into the system. The students that have completed course work experience in the areas of unit operations of chemical engineering mostly benefited by using the instrument. They were able to easily connect the dots that they learnt from their theoretical parts of their course work in heat transfer, mass transfer, and flow regime in heterogeneous mixtures.

What would you say are the advantages are of using tomography compared to alternatives?
I personally think that tomography is like a show and tell technique. The users greatly benefited from using the p2+ ERT instrument in our research .

For any questions about this article or on how tomography can benefit your research please contact us