Much of our environment and the benefits that we derive from our surrounding are strongly influenced by the interactions of the three primary phases of matter - solids, liquids and gases. These interactions often occur on surfaces, with the individual phases being discrete in form. Particles/powders, which can be either wet or dry and range in size from nano-meters to centimetres, are one very important example of such a multiphase system. As with solids, bulk powders can withstand deformation; as with liquids, they can flow; as with gases, they exhibit compressibility. These features give rise to another state of matter- particulate matter -that is poorly understood.
Particulate science and technology is a rapidly developing interdisciplinary research area with its core being the understanding of the relationships between micro- and macro-scopic properties of particulate materials. It is now emerging as a core competency of paramount importance to many sectors of our modern economy. The macroscopic behavior of a powder is controlled by the interactions between individual particles as well as interactions with any surrounding gas or liquid. Understanding the microscopic mechanisms in relation to these interaction forces is key to leading to truly interdisciplinary research into particulate matter, in which scientists and engineers correlate their findings and ensure that microscopic predictions from one discipline match macroscopic results from another. It is extremely difficult to obtain microscopic information experimentally, even with the use of advanced and expensive measuring techniques. However, this difficulty can be overcome by computer simulation and modelling. This point of view has been widely accepted among the scientists working in this area, particularly in recent years as a result of the rapid development of discrete particle simulation techniques and computer technology.
Laboratory for Simulation and Modelling of Particulate Systems (SIMPAS) is a world class, multi-disciplinary research facility established and directed by Professor Aibing Yu, Vice-Chancellorís Professorial Fellow, Pro Vice-Chancellor and President (Suzhou), Monash University. Its research theme aims at understanding the mechanisms governing particulate packing and flow through rigorous simulation and modelling of the particle-particle and particle-fluid interactions at both microscopic and macroscopic levels, with its application oriented to mineral/metallurgy/chemical/materials industries. Its goal is to be internationally recognised through excellence in fundamental and applied research in particulate science and technology. Its mission is: