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Feb 2017

University of Birmingham Invests in Tomography

We are proud to announce that the University of Birmingham has collaborated with ITS to purchase their first tomography system. The University of Birmingham is a prestigious university and we have no doubt the system will help the chemical engineering department to accomplish some impressive feats. To mark the occasion, Federico Alberini, Lecturer in Chemical Engineering, took the time to discuss the reasons behind purchasing the V5R ERT system and the projects he plans to utilise the instrumentation for:

Why have you bought our system? What do you plan to use it for?

“First of all we bought this system to enhance the student experience,by giving them an opportunity to use equipment that may be useful for them to use in the future. For instance, when they go to work in industry they say “ah okay” when I was a student I saw that kit that could measure this or is this something I can implement in the process of this industry. It’s something to give them an advantage over students from other universities.

University of Birmingham Federico Alberini

At the same time, we also plan to use the system for some personal research; I’m interested in general measurements, particular online measurements. Tomography is one of the most advanced online measurements available; it is something that industry is really keen to explore. Despite the technology being well established, there is not much literature available linking tomography to the field of complex fluids (rheology), where this kind of measurement can be very useful to optimise the process in industry.”

Do you have any specific experiments that you’d like to use the V5R for?

“The first set of experiments will be conducted with the students; we will do a comparison with another known established technique. In particular we will try to use a static mixer to mix some non-Newtonian fluids, as they mimic real industrial process fluids, this is because our industrial sponsor wishes to begin using continuous processes but is hesitant to do so because they do not know how to monitor and control such processes. This is what we hope to achieve with ERT (electrical resistance tomography), once the system is installed in the pipeline.”

What would you say the benefits of tomography are compared to the alternatives?

“One major advantage is that it’s safe; with ERT you don’t need special protection. One alternative is x-ray but the cost is huge and x-ray it is much less flexible than ERT. For example, if I want to investigate a smaller pipeline I just need to buy new electrodes, I don’t have to buy the whole system again; X-ray is not the same, if you want to monitor something small you have to purchase a new system. The flexibility of ERT is a feature I have a lot of praise for.”

The University of Birmingham is the latest beneficiary of ITS systems, if you would like to know how our technology can benefit you don’t hesitate to get in touch! You can call us on +44 (0) 161 832 9297 or reach us through our website.