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December 2019 - We wish you a merry christmas!

The eventful year 2019 is reaching the end. We congratulate Dr. Lukas Hohmann on achieving the doctorate with distinction. The Laboratory of Equipment Designs takes the opportunity to say goodbye to Waldemar Krieger, who left the group this summer, and wish him the best for his future. On the other hand, we would like to welcome again our new research associates Daniel Becker, Lutz Kaiser, Piriyanth Sakthithasan, and Aljoscha Frede, who will reinforce the team in the ongoing years. At the end of the year, we would like to thank our supporters, particularly the students who do research together with us and the alumni who always support us with advice.

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


November 2019 - AD at conferences

This year we presented and discussed our research and its results at the ECCE in Florence (September 2019) and at the PAAT in Dortmund (November 2019). At the ECCE in Florence “Application of MicroCT for the Visualization of Mulitphase Phenomena in Small Ducts” was presented by Julia Schuler and “Characterization of a Microfluidic Device Manufactured by Reactive Ion Etching” by Jens Bobers. The posters of Julia Grühn on the topic “Selectivity of Gas-Liquid Reactions in Straight and Coiled Capillaries and CFI” and Mira Schmalenberg on the topic “Comparison of Miniaturized Draft Tube Baffle and Coiled Flow Inverter Crystallizer Construction” were also discussed.

At PAAT Daniel Becker gave a talk on “Design of Bionic Structures for Pressure Vessel Elements”. Lukas Bittorf and Mira Schmalenberg held a tandem talk on “Modular Automation and Feasibility Study of Different Component Systems for Stirred Pulsed Extraction Columns” as part of the ENPRO2.0 project, which also shows how the subprojects of ENPRO2.0 exchange ideas with each other. Additionally, Lukas Bittorf could exchange about his poster “Service oriented architecture for an automated laboratory distillation process module” and Julia Grühn about her poster “Untersuchungen von Gas/Flüssig-Reaktionen im Coiled Flow Inverter (CFI) zur Skalierung vom Labor- in den Produktionsmaßstab” with other participants.

Contact: Staff


October 2019 - Coalescence studies with open source components

To demonstrate the potential of rapid prototyping and physical computing in laboratories and process development, it was possible to set up an Arduino based camera system with open-source components. With this set up, phase separation was detected visually and coalescence diagrams could be recorded automatically. Based on these studies, parameters for process development and control can be derived. Embedded in the KEEN initiative for the integration of AI-supported tools in the process industry, it was shown, that physical computing in a research environment is getting more important in the fundamental education of process engineers.

Contact: Lutz Kaiser


September 2019 – Structural optimization with diatom combs

The examination of possible structural optimization is an essential part in the use of lightweight design. A promising approach to structural optimization is the use of bionic structures coupled with evolutionary algorithms. 
As an example of the potential of this optimization strategy, a lightweight design was developed for a blind flange with the aid of diatom combs. Diatoms are a type of algae and occur in nature in many different types and structures. The different shapes of the diatom can be examined with the help of parameterizable CAD drawings and FEM simulations. The geometric parameters are optimized by an evolutionary algorithm that minimizes the weight and occuring stresses in the component. With this method it was possible to reduce the weight of a blind flange by ca. 50% in comparison to an conventional blind flange under same loads. A first demonstrator was 3D printed in PLA.

Contact: Daniel Becker


August 2019 - This years AD chair trip to Hüttenwerke Krupp Mannesmann

On July 19, 2019, the whole laboratory of Equipment Design with students, assistants, technical and administrative staff had a great trip to the steelwork Hüttenwerke Krupp Mannesmann in Duisburg. After a short introduction to the company and a video of „Die Sendung mit der Maus“ there was a guided tour through the whole manufacturing process from iron ore to steel. We would like to thank HKM and the guides who made this possible. The afternoon ended with barbecue and beach volleyball at the Baldeney lake in Essen.

Contact: Norbert Kockmann


July 2019 - Exkursion Boehringer Ingelheim

Am 3. Juli 2019 hat im Rahmen der GMP-Vorlesung eine Gruppe Studierender mit Prof. Norbert Kockmann und MSc. Julia Schuler die Fa. Boehringer Ingelheim besucht. Neben dem Kennenlernen der Gesamtstruktur eines forschenden pharmazeutischen Unternehmens konnten die Studierenden auch Einblicke in den Ingenieursalltag gewinnen. Eine Führung durch das Info-Center sowie eine Busfahrt über das Werksgelände und der Besuch des Tablettier- und Verpackungsbetriebs rundeten die Erfahrungen ab. Hautnah konnte das Phytozentrum und die Pflanzenextraktion erlebt werden. Hr. Dr. Hagels und seine Kollegen leiteten sehr fachkundig die Führungen. Vielen Dank dafür.

Contact: Norbert Kockmann


June 2019 – Engineering meets Art - Ausstellung im Dortmunder U

Zum Anlass des 50jährigen Jubiläums der Fakultät Bio- und Chemieingenieurwesen arbeiteten Studierende der Ingenieurwissenschaften zusammen mit Studierenden der Musik und Fotografie im Rahmen des Engineering meets Art  Projektes interdisziplinär und erschufen Kunstwerke verschiedenster Art. Dabei ist beispielsweise die Arbeit von Alexander Gunkel in Kooperation der Arbeitsgruppe Apparatedesign mit dem Lehrstuhl für Festoffverfahrenstechnik entstanden, die das mittels einer Hochgeschwindigkeitskamera in Millisekunden aufgelöste Platzen einer Flasche zeigt. Die platzende Flasche ist am 12.06.2019 als Film auf den Bildschirmen am Dortmunder U zu sehen. Die dazugehörige Ausstellung im Dortmunder U ist noch bis zum 23.06.2019 geöffnet.

Contact: Jens Bobers

May 2019 – Local mass transfer and flow phenomena in slug flow

The implementation of conventional sensors is a drawback when investigating mass transfer phenomena within microstructured devices, since they disturb the flow and reactor characteristics. Recently, we developed a non-invasive colorimetric method to acquire local mass transfer information in slug flow. By introducing an Arduino based slider setup, which is equipped with a computer-vision system to track the flow, it is possible to capture the entire life time of a single slug and provide valuable data for the development of theoretical models and validation of numerical simulations.
This setup demonstrates how open-source soft- and hardware can enhance analytical tools and contribute to the fundamental understanding of gas-liquid mass transfer phenomena.

Contact: Waldemar Krieger

Corresponding publication: W. Krieger, J. Lamsfuß, W. Zhang, N. Kockmann. Local Mass Transfer Phenomena and Chemical Selectivity of Gas-Liquid Reactions in Capillaries. Chem. Eng. Technol.  2017, vol. 40 (11), p. 2134-2143


April 2019 - Nature as a model for modern technologies 

The application of biological principles of action to technical applications is described by bionics. Typical fields of work include materials science, sensor technology and mechanics. The biological sample is first modeled and then the application case is simulated. An example for the application of bionic principles in structural mechanics is the use of honeycombs in lightweight construction. Instead of solid material, a sandwich structure with honeycombs is used as filling material. This allows savings in terms of weight and material with the same mechanical load capacity. The use of bionic lightweight construction methods is not yet established in apparatus engineering and will therefore be a task for the future.

Contact: Daniel Becker


March 2019 - Equipment design for the skin of a (bio-)chemical process

The apparatus forms the shell of chemical or physical processes and determines the efficiency and safety of a chemical production plant. Well characterized, robust and scalable apparatuses are important for optimal chemical production and fast, reliable process development from laboratory to production. Based on well-known concepts, we develop miniaturized apparatuses that fit into a fume hood, but offer the full functionality of conventional process steps. In reactors with channels smaller than 3 mm, the so-called microreactors, we can carry out chemical reactions with little consumption but high functionality. With Peltier elements, we measure the heat release of exothermic reactions. In helical tube reactors we can adjust a narrow residence time distribution and influence the selectivity of multiphase chemical reactions. In addition to chemical reactions, separation processes are very important for the efficiency of a chemical process. For example, we have developed the smallest stirred extraction column with an internal diameter of 15 mm, which enables a countercurrent of the two phases through targeted pulsation. A distillation column with rotating internals and an internal diameter of 25 mm allows for continuous separation of mixtures with low flow rates. We can even carry out continuous cooling crystallization in the helical tube. The columns can be interconnected with microreactors and other separation equipment to form a modular overall process with integrated sensors.


February 2019 – Excursion to Merck KGaA, Darmstadt

Within the framework of this semesters‘s group project, 9 students, along with members of the group of Equipment Design and  other guests from the faculty, visited Merck KGaA in Darmstadt on January 31th 2019. The students succesfully presented the results of their group project „ Development of a modular multi-purpose plant for the production of liquid crystals“.  Thereafter, all participants gained valuable insights into fields of activities for chemical and bio engineers at Merck. Students and research associates visited laboratories and pilot plants and learned about the interesting history of Merck at „Corporate History“. All 16 participants were  overwhelmed by the variety of impressions.


January 2019 – Automated liquid handling and dosage systems for chemical screening platform

Exploring new chemical spaces for new reactions, catalysts and molecules is limited by error-prone and time-consuming manual work. Automated, microfluidic and drop-based screening platforms enable massive parallelization of chemical reactions and thus rapid screening of a wide variety of compounds. For this purpose, an automated liquid handling system is required to mix different reactants and dose them into a microreactor. A fully automated and customizable system based on an open source 3D printer design is being developed.
Contact: Jens Bobers