Unilever Research Prize 2017 for Roeland Kooiman

Roeland Kooiman, alumnus of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, has won the Unilever Research Prize 2017. The TU/e nominated him for his graduation project in which he modeled a part of the production of milk powder. The prize consists of a sum of 2,500 euros and a work of art in glass.

The Unilever Research Prizes are presented to students from the 13 Dutch universities. With this annual tradition Unilever wants to recognize exceptional achievements of students and stimulate interest in scientific research. The prizes were awarded on Thursday 7 December in Vlaardingen by David Blanchard, Chief R&D Officer of Unilever.

Kooiman receives the prize not only because of his excellent graduation project that has been assessed with a 9.5 in the group of prof.dr.ir. J.A.M. Kuipers. His Master's degree was awarded cum laude and he also did many extra-curricular activities during his studies, including within the study association T.S.V. Jan Pieter Minckelers and the Federation of Study Associations Eindhoven. In addition, he can add the Unilever Research Prize to an impressive list of scholarships and awards, including the
VNCI Topsector Chemistry Scholarship, Honors Star Program completion, Sixma Organic Chemistry Price and KHMW Young Talent Encouragement Award.

After his graduation project, Roeland Kooiman did an internship at Dow Chemical. As a result of this internship, he was offered a job and recently started as an Improvement Engineer at this company in Terneuzen.

Summary graduation project 'Study of viscosity effect on (milk) droplet droplet collisions'
Powdered milk is manufactured on a very large scale by means of spray drying and offers key advantages compared to liquid milk such as a far longer shelf life and more cost-efficient transportation. Spray drying is widely used as an important unit operation in the process industries such as the chemical, pharmaceutical and food industry to transform a liquid slurry, such as milk, into a powder. Typically the slurry is dispersed to obtain a spray with a controlled droplet size and subsequently contacted with hot gas (air) to evaporate the liquid (water). The properties of the milk powder depend on the spray characteristics which are governed by the droplet collisional interaction.

Due to the high concentration of solids and the presence of milk proteins, a milk concentrate has a relatively high viscosity. This viscosity has a major influence on the collisions between milk droplets. In order to improve the quality of milk powder, it is important to gain more insight into the effect of viscosity on these collisions. Kooiman's graduation project has yielded a model that can predict the outcome of a collision between two milk droplets based on the properties of the collision, including viscosity.

His graduation work forms the basis of two journal publications (in preparation).