NSF ERC RESEARCH
2006 - 2016
NSF Research Projects
During the first 10 years of C-SOPS, as NSF-funded engineering research center, the center research program was organized in four scientific thrusts, and three test beds. At peak level of our research program, the thrusts spanned 26 distinct research projects that were tasked both with advancing key scientific issues as well as delivering key technological solutions required for the realization of test bed goals. The four thrusts constitute an integrated knowledge creation system which follows the logical conceptual flow of product engineering activities.
Thrust (A) focused on the formation, characterization, and modification of incoming materials; Thrust (B) focused on the design and scale-up of the individual processing steps used to transform incoming materials into products, and Thrust (C) was concerned with the characterization of structured “products” and the determination of the effect of material properties and product structure on product function and performance. Finally, Thrust (D) provided a framework for managing the information, in the form of data, results and models, generated by the other three thrusts and uses this body of knowledge for designing, monitoring, controlling and optimizing the entire process. Each thrust encompassed multiple specific projects, which were organized to insure scientific inter-connectivity while also delivering technology components necessary to advance the test beds. The test beds, in turn, provided
the demonstration of the relevance and impact of the fundamental knowledge and tools generated under the thrusts.
The strategic research program was vertically integrated through the three test beds that were designed to accelerate two major technology transitions:
Test bed 1 (Continuous manufacturing of tablets) advances the transition from batch processes operating in open loop to continuous processing operating in a state of robust and automated control. The test bed is focused on the production of conventional tablets but brings advances in mathematical modeling, sensing, control and optimization methods and understanding of material properties to bear on continuous manufacturing.
Test bed 2 and Test bed 3 (Strip films and products formed using drop on demand methods) facilitate a transition from manufacturing using powder processing operations to manufacturing using more precise particle engineering methods combined with fluid handling operations. The former uses novel approaches to formation of nano-scale particles, stabilized in suspensions and formed into gel strips as a flexible product form for delivery of active substances. The latter exploits drop-wise deposition of liquid drug-excipient mixtures in the form of solutions, melts and suspensions onto edible substrates in a controlled manner to achieve desired drug loading, solid form, morphology and dissolution behavior. In principle both of these test beds offer approaches to manufacturing flexible doses suitable for individualized drug administration.