Transfer, Interface, Mixing (EAD7 team) TIM

One team, two subjects/topics

Team staff includes ten researchers, four technicians and almost fifteen PhD students. The group is around twenty-five to thirty persons.

TIM expertise is focused on:

  • Particle behaviour at interfaces for the modelling of fluid transfer through biological particles, filter system characterization, nanoparticle separation, aggregation phenomena and heterocoagulation, analysis of adhesion phenomena.
  • Transport phenomena and mass transfer in multiphase bioreactors with special skills in mixing, bubbles and droplets characterization and gas liquid mass transfer in complex liquid media, bioreactor modelling involving both physical phenomena and biological reactions.



Strategies and partnerships

TIM is in strong interaction with the other laboratory groups and part of the federative Toulouse structure FERMAT. TIM is also taking part in Toulouse White Biotechnology (TWB), a recent large ambitious project supported by the National Research Agency (ANR). Through different financial supports from local and international agencies (ANR, FUI, PHC,..), our team is developing strong and durable partnerships with international Universities and world companies.


For example on the topic water, TIM is today working with Chulalongkorn University of Thaïland, Imperial and King’s College in London, Université Libre de Bruxelles and Universities in Morocco and Tunisia. Currently, nine research projects are associated with regular industrial partners such as IFP, SUEZ, TOTAL or VEOLIA groups.


Water as topic

Water as a topic is a long term project developed in our Laboratory for many years; it is continuing today with the following investigations:

- The ANR O2star project deals with waste water treatment plants. The main objective of this project is to improve the power efficiency of the aerated tanks. Those consume the main part of the electrical energy of the waste water treatment station (STEP) in transfering the oxygen required for bacteria metabolism into the liquid phase.Experimental and numerical approaches are proposed to reach the goal by providing reliable numerical modelling and best STEP design.

- A PhD thesis currently addresses this topic by studying the physicochemical effect of the liquid phase on the solute diffusion coefficient and the liquid side mass transfer coefficient. Planar Laser Induce Fluorescence (PLIF) and Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV) are used to determine these coefficients.

- A PhD thesis is co-supervised with the SOPHY research group; it deals with fouling issues encountered with membrane filtration processes. Gas injection is investigated to reduce the fouling problem; experimental and numerical approaches are proposed to improve the filtration module design.

- In partnership with Chulalongkorn University in Thaïland and the VEOLIA research group, a new hybrid process for water treatment has been developed involving hydrocyclone,coagulation, flocculation and flotation. This new treatment process will soon be applied to Thaïland waters.

- A PhD thesis on fixed bed water treatment operations is co-supervised with Casablanca. Hydrodynamics and mass transfer is investigated to improve the biological and process power efficiency.


Energy as a perspective

“Salinalgues” is a FUI project (Fonds Unique Interministériels); it aims to convert the salt fields by working on the intensive transformation of microalgae to high-fat suitable to be converted to biofuel. Different microalgae harvesting processes are assessed in a TIM PhD thesis.

TIM is also taking part in the Toulouse White Technology Project; its expertise on multiphase reactor modelling will be used to develop future energy industries.


Nanoparticles as an insight

Two recent projects investigate nanoparticles; the first deals with their properties and the second one with their removal.

In the first project, biocide surfaces are created via deposition of nanostructures with silver particles on the wall to protect. According to their biocide properties, silver particles can reduce biofilm growth on the wall.  Potential applications are numerous in food and boat industries.

The second project financed by « la Région Midi-Pyrénées » and the « CNRS », is part of a larger research project called « Nanosep » which involves the National Research Agency « ANR » and the China Research Council. This project deals with nanoparticle removal through a water treatment process in order to release uncontaminated water.