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EPSRC supported PhD Studentship: Hygienic Processing of Pet Foods - Cleaning and Sanitization of Pneumatic Conveying

University of Birmingham

Qualification Type: PhD
Location: Birmingham
Funding for: UK Students, EU Students
Funding amount: £17,900 plus fees
Hours: Full Time
Placed On: 28th November 2018
Closes: 31st January 2019

Frazer Nash Manufacturing

Dr Tim W Overton, Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham

Tax free bursary of £17,900 plus fees

Many dry pet foods such as kibble are manufactured using extrusion, a common unit operation utilised in the processing of many products including human food and feed. Following extrusion, the pet food pieces are pneumatically conveyed from the cutting head of the extruder and on to further processing steps (coating, drying, and packing). Recent recalls of pet foods due to microbiological contamination (frequently Salmonella) have highlighted issues with current pet food manufacturing practices. As such, process efficiency and safety could be improved.

FNM currently manufactures devices for pneumatic conveying of dry pet food from extruders. They wish to better understand how design and operation of pneumatic conveying devices can permit better microbiological safety in the finished pet food product. This project will aim to model pneumatic conveying and develop understanding of how such unit operations can be effectively cleaned and sanitized to permit hygienic production of dry pet foods. We will initially investigate UV light and PHI sanitization methods. We expect that the project will include a variety of analytical and research approaches at the interface of process engineering, manufacturing, and microbiology.

The project will be multidisciplinary and encompass a wide range of scientific and engineering areas, including process engineering, manufacturing, process control, cleaning and sanitization, and applied microbiology.

To be eligible for EPSRC funding candidates must have at least a 2(1) in  Chemical Engineering or a related Scientific discipline or a 2(2) plus M.Sc. Please email your c.v. to For more details on the Engineering Doctorate scheme please visit     

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