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 inter-disciplinary research area with its core being the understanding of the relationships between microscopic and macroscopic properties of particulate materials. It is now emerging as a core competency of paramount importance to interactions between individual particles as well as interactions with any surrounding gas or liquid. Understanding the microscopic mechanisms in relations to these interaction forces is key to truly interdisciplinary research into particulate matter, in which scientist 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 simulations and modelling. This point of view has been widely accepted among the scientist working in this area, particularly in recent years as a result of the rapid development of discrete particle simulation techniques and computer technology. 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:
- To establish a world-class interdisciplinary research team, supported by the rapidly developed computational techniques and computer technology, in the field of particulate science and technology;
- To provide a forum to research scientists from various disciplines for exchanging ideas and developing collaborative research in computational particulate technology;
- To promote the application of particulate science and technology, newly developed understanding and research techniques in particular, to industry; and
- To contribute to the education and training of high quality postgraduates in particulate science and technology.