Category Archives: News

A New Research Article Published on Ionic-Liquid Collectors for Rare-Earth Minerals Flotation

In collaboration with researchers of Laval University, Mohammad Latifi co-authored in publication of a research article entitled “Ionic-liquid Collectors for Rare-Earth Minerals Flotation—Case of Tetrabutylammonium Bis(2-ethylhexyl)-Phosphate for Monazite and Bastnäsite Recovery” on the Journal of Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects.

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 Below, abstract  of the paper are provided:


 Application of tetrabutylammonium bis(2-ethylhexyl)-phosphate ([N4444][DEHP]), a room temperature ionic liquid (IL), as an aqueous collector for flotation of model monazite and bastnäsite minerals was investigated through micro-flotation tests, zeta potential measurements, Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). The ionic liquid was shown to have superior performance to float both model rare-earth (RE) minerals as compared with calcite, dolomite and quartz minerals as typical gangue minerals. Parallel to this, micro-flotation tests of a rare-earth ore containing bastnäsite and monazite minerals were found in line with [N4444][DEHP] stronger collecting power towards RE model minerals even outperforming hydroxamic acid-containing collectors. With regard to the mineral surface chemistry, zeta potential measurements, FTIR characterization and XPS analysis, it was established that [N4444][DEHP] uptake on bastnäsite and monazite surfaces was via chemisorption involving specifically the PO and PO groups of the IL anionic moiety. IL anionic and cationic interactions during RE mineral flotation were rationalized in terms of an inner synergistic pathway: IL anionic moiety chemisorbing on bastnäsite and monazite surfaces prompting uptake of cationic moiety via electrostatic attraction and/or via hydrophobic chain interactions of the cation alkyl chains with the chemisorbed IL anionic layer. Finally, for calcite as the most responsive among gangue minerals, the characterization techniques divulged the weaker IL-surface interactions. Hence, this investigation opens up new prospects for more selective ionic-liquid collectors to be used in the flotation of RE minerals.

A Unique Research Publication on the Influence of Interparticle Force on Solids Motion in a Bubbling Gas-Solid Fluidized Bed

jaberIt is our pleasure to announce the recent publication by Jaber Shabanian and Jamal Chaouki  in Powder Technology. An in-depth study was carried out with the help of the radioactive particle tracking technique while adopting a polymer coating approach to increase the level of IPFs in a bed of fresh sugar beads. This helped highlighting the effect of IPFs on solids motion in a bubbling gas-solid fluidized bed. Experimental results showed that the quality of solids mixing decreased with the level of cohesive IPFs in the bed. In addition, by calculating the idle time for systems with varying degrees of IPFs and resembling the agglomeration process to a reaction network, i.e., the idle time represents the effective reaction time and all reactions follow the elementary rate law, we could provide a fundamental understanding about why the agglomeration process, which normally occurs for beds approaching complete defluidization at elevated temperature, is an auto-accelerated phenomenon.


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Impressive Presence of PEARL at FLUIDIZATION XV Conference

Professor Jamal Chaouki was chair of the FLUIDIZATION XV conference that was held in Montebello, Quebec, Canada during May 22-27, 2016. Besides, members of the PEARL presented a number of research articles at the conference:

  1. Hamed Nasri Lari, Jason R. Tavares, Jamal Chaouki, “De-Agglomeration of Nanoparticles in an Impactor-Assisted Fluidized Bed”
  2. Jaber Shabanian, Jamal Chaouki, “Performance Evaluation of Different Approaches for Early Detection of Defluidization”
  3. Jaber Shabanian, Jamal Chaouki, “Similarities Between Gas-Solid Fluidization in the Presence of Interparticle Forces at High Temperature and Induced by a Polymer Coating Approach
  4. Mohammad Latifi, Jamal Chaouki, “Induction Heating Fluidized Bed reactor for Coal-Based Cofiring Tests”
  5. Said Samih, Jamal Chaouki, “Catalytic Ash Free Coal Gasification in a Fluidized Bed Thermogravimetric Analyzer”
  6. Sajjad Habibzadeh, Jamal Chaouki and et al. “Conformal Multilayer Coating on Fine Silica Microspheres by Atmospheric Pressure Fluidized Bed Chemical Vapor Deposition”
  7. Sajjad Habibzadeh, Jamal Chaouki and et al. “Surface Engineering and Vapor Phase technologies for Coating and Functionalizing Complex Objects and Small Particles”
  8. Samira Aghaee Sarbarze, Mohammad Latifi, Jamal Chaouki, “Fluidization of Cohesive Nanoparticles With a New Pulsation Technique”
  9. Samira Aghaee Sarbarze, Mohammad Latifi, Jamal Chaouki, “Gas-phase Carbon Coating of Cathode Material of Rechargeable Batteries”

Professor Jamal Chaouki Chaired the FLUIDIZATION XV Conference

The FLUIDIZATION XV conference was held in Montebello, Quebec, Canada during May 22-27, 2016. The conference was chaired by Dr. Jamal Chaouki of Polytechnique Montreal and co-chaired by Dr. Franco Berruti (from Western University), Dr. Xiaoto (Tony) Bi (PEARL’s alumnus from University of British Colombia) and Dr. Ray Cocco (from Particulate Solid Research Inc.).

About 200 researchers and engineers from industries, academia and research centers from around the world participated in the conference where research topics related to fluidization were presented in 10 categories:

  • Fluidization of irregular shape particles
  • Micro-fluidized bed reactors
  • Clean energy processes
  • Fundamentals
  • Coating technologies and fluidized nanoparticles
  • Chemical looping combustion (CLC)
  • Thermal and catalytic cracking
  • Polymerization processes
  • Encapsulation
  • Composites

A Review Article published by PEARL’s members on Fast Pyrolysis of Lignocellulosic Biomass

Mai Attia, Sherif Farag, Sajjad Habibzadeh, Sepehr Hamzehlouia and Jamal Chaouki recently published their article entitled “Fast Pyrolysis of Lignocellulosic Biomass for the Production of Energy and Chemicals: A Critical Review” on the Journal of Current Organic Chemistry.

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 Below, abstract of the paper are provided:

Fast Pyrolysis

As a consequence of the shortage of traditional resources and escalating environmental constraints, the feedstocks for the production of energy and chemicals are swiftly changing. Biomass has received remarkable attention from both academia and industries as it is the most promising feedstock for these applications. Understanding the conversion mechanisms of such renewable low-value material to value-added products would lead to providing insights to enhance the product yield and/or quality and, in turn, help the new products compete with the traditional ones. In this regard, this paper provides an updated review on the processing of biomass for the production of valuable products that could replace a part of the fossil fuel-based energy and chemicals. The common technologies that are performed in the conversion processes are demonstrated, and the thermochemical technique is emphasized. Several chemical reactors and their processes for fast pyrolysis applications are presented. The organic chemistry of pyrolysis of a biomass plant and its three constituents (i.e., cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin) is debated. The effect of the heating mechanism, process parameters, loading of catalyst and other aspects are discussed. Eventually, the economics aspect of fast pyrolysis of biomass is evaluated.


TOTAL Sponsored Student Meeting in Cambridge, MA, USA

A Total Sponsored Student Meeting was held on 21 and 22 of March 2016 in Cambridge, MA in the United States hosted by Dr. Shaffiq Jaffer, VP of Corporate Science and Technology Projects of Total American Services Inc.

Total meeting March 2016 2

Managers of TOTAL as well as researchers, postdocs and graduate students of Polytechnique Montreal (members of the PEARL), University of Montreal, MIT, Harvard, Stanford and University of Colorado Boulder participated in the meeting.

Members of the PEARL presented the followings:

Jaber Shabanian: Hydrodynamics of a Gas-Solid Fluidized Bed at Elevated Pressures and Temperatures

Amin Esmaeili: Hydrodynamics of Bubble Column Reactors at Extreme Operating Conditions

El Mahdi Lakhdissi: Hydrodynamics of Slurry Bubble Columns at Elevated Pressures and Temperatures

Sherif Farag: Microwave-Assisted Chemical Reactions

Philippe Leclerc: Microwave Pyrolysis of Polystyrene

Mohammad Latifi: The Novel Induction Heating Fluidized Bed Reactor

Samira Aghaee: A Fluidized Bed Chemical Vapor Deposition Process for Nanoparticles

Adrián Carrillo: Thermal Cracking of Rare Earths Bearing Minerals

Recent publication by Jaber Shabanian

Jaber describes his newly published achievement as:

"A unique research publication on hydrodynamics of a bubbling gas-solid fluidized bed at high temperature in the presence of interparticle forces"

Following our years of expertise on hydrodynamics of multiphase reactors, in particular, fluidization characteristics of gas-solid fluidized beds operating in the presence of interparticle forces (IPFs), the results of an extensive experimental campaign from Jaber Shabanian and Jamal Chaouki has recently published in Chemical Engineering Journal. The objective of the study was to highlight modifications in the bed behavior with the operating temperature (700–1000oC) at conditions under which the role of hydrodynamic forces or IPFs was dominant. The level of IPFs was adjusted through the formation of eutectics on the surface of base particles. Experimental results revealed that a great deal of attention to the physical and/or physico-chemical changes of the fluidized particles with increasing temperature along with the variation of the physical properties of the fluidizing gas must be taken into account in order to arrive at the successful design and reliable operation of gas-solid fluidized beds at high temperature.

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Recent Publications by Amin Esmaeili


Our group has recently made new research progress in the hydrodynamic understanding of bubble column reactors operating with non-Newtonian liquids.


1. For better design, optimization, and scale-up purposes of bubble columns operating under elevated pressure, Amin Esmaeili investigated the simultaneous effects of liquid phase rheological properties and operating pressure in a pilot-scale bubble column reactor by means of analyzing global and local pressure data. They found that the total gas holdup increases with an increase in the operating pressure. The operating flow regime transition point was shifted to higher superficial gas velocities at elevated pressures. The standard deviation of pressure fluctuations was also found to increase with operating pressure but to decrease with the elasticity of the liquid phase. They developed a new correlation to predict the gas holdup in bubble columns operating at elevated pressures. Click to see the article

2. Amin Esmaeili and coworkers measured local bubble properties by placing two in-house made optical fiber probes at various locations within a bubble column reactor operating with different non-Newtonian liquids. They found that the presence of elasticity can noticeably increase the bubble frequency but decreases the bubble chord length and its rise velocity. The radial profiles of bubble frequency, bubble chord length and bubble rise velocity are shown to be relatively flat at low superficial gas velocity while they become parabolic at high superficial gas velocity. They proposed two novel correlations based on dimensionless numbers by introducing the dynamic moduli of the liquid phase into the correlations. The novel proposed correlations provides a reliable method to predict bubble size and gas holdup in bubble column reactors operating with non-Newtonian liquids with a wide range of viscosity and elasticity. Click to see the article

These works have been supported by TOTAL American Services, Inc. and the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council, Canada (NSERC).