Student Projects

Continuous Cooling Crystallization


For this construction thesis we are looking for a student to design a water bath made of stainless steel for continuous cooling crystallization in a tubular reactor (plug flow crystallizer).

Using such a tubular crystallizer the continuous cooling crystallization process should be carried out in two water baths of different temperature. Each water bath has separate glass inserts which enable the visual observation of the crystallization process within the tubes via a high speed camera. To achieve high resolution images a backlight source e.g. a LED panel in addition to the camera is necessary. Due to the reflection of the water inside the bath the distance between the backlight and the camera should be as short as possible. To keep the tube cycles uniformly immersed and to guide them special tube mountings are also required.


  • To design a water bath of stainless steel with glass inserts for the image-based observation of a continuous cooling crystallization within a transparent tubular crystallizer.
  • To make a selection of necessary materials and equipment and process the orders
  • Image-based monitoring and observation of crystal segments via high speed camera and backlight
  • Doing some final experiments to demonstrate the applicability of the two water baths for visual investigations.


  • Background in chemical / pharmaceutical engineering or chemistry
  • Basic experience in working with CAD drawing desirable
  • Basic experience in lab work

What we offer

  • Integration in an internationally leading team


Dipl.-Ing. Alexander Meister, BSc
Inffeldgasse 13 / III, 8010 Graz

Paid Master or Bachelor Thesis Project - Bublon

The aim of this BSc. or MSc. project is to help developing and characterizing a new ecological and sustainable high-end filler and aggregate, which is and will be used in multiple markets. The BSc. or MSc. student will work in the newly equipped laboratory of the company Bublon GmbH in Gleisdorf.

Bublon GmbH uses a patented expansion process to fabricate special high-end microspheres out of the volcanic raw material perlite. The line of action for the student implies characterizing different types of spheres and exploring connections between different properties (e.g. isostatic strength, particle form or density) as well as process parameters. Stefan Radl, Assoc.Prof. Dr.techn. Dipl.-Ing. Is academically supervising the thesis project.

The work should start in August 2020 and the compensation for a master thesis would be 2 700 €, for a bachelor thesis accordingly less. Closing date for applications is 20th of July 2020.
Contact for further details. 

Academic Supervisor
Assoc.Prof. Stefan Radl
T: +43 316 873 30412 | M: +43 680 12 22 168 | 

Company Contact
Elke Riedl
Bublon GmbH
Grazer Straße 19-25 | 8200 Gleisdorf | Austria
T: +43 3112 20 562 221 | M: +43 664 51 44 221 |

natural customized spheres

Paid Master’s Thesis - Development of a Dosing Unit for the Production of personalized Tablets

The fact that human beings differ from each other, regarding their physiology, pathology and environment suggests, that not everyone can be treated using the same medication. Therefore, a trend towards personalized medicine is observable. This trend brings up some challenges, as it comes to the production of tablets. The dose of the Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (API) as well as the amount of any excipient needs to be dosed accurately, for each individual tablet.

The development of a device being capable to do so, is the goal of this thesis. As the dosing shall be done gravimetrically, the dosing unit will contain a feeder and a weighing cell. A scheme of the set-up and its features can be seen below.

Your work will include the following points:
•    Picking a development environment (LabView, Arduino/Raspberry Pi, …)
•    Picking a weighing cell with sufficient accuracy and fitting dynamic properties
•    Integration of weighing cell and feeder in an environment for control and data acquisition
•    Investigation of the feeding/dosing characteristics of the set-up
•    Development of a self-adjusting dose algorithm

We offer
•    High scientific and industrial relevance (the approach involving this dosing process could speed up the development in pharmaceutical industry and allow to produce personalized medicine)
•    Support from the IPPE project team and Prof. Horn from IRT
•    Desk and office space

Andreas Kottlan,, 0316-873-30419
Starting date: as soon as possible 2020

Paid Master’s Thesis - Investigations on a Sonic Mixing Process

Sonic mixing is a relatively new approach for mixing various systems. The process is used to some extend in pharmaceutical industry to produce powder mixtures and pastes. To achieve a satisfying mixing quality, the system is exposed to vibration with high acceleration and high amplitudes in means of travel. This is commercially realized by using a system working at resonance frequency to minimize the power input.

We aim for a much smaller system size, i.e. the mass of single tablet. This allows us to get rid of the need for a system operated at resonance. Therefore, the frequency can be varied to achieve the most effective mixing process. A schematic sketch of the setup can be seen in figure 1.

This thesis shall bring insight to some specific points:
•    How do the operating parameters, i.e. frequency and amplitude affect the flow pattern within the mixing vessel?
•    How does the “flow regime” within the mixing chamber affect the mixing performance?
•    How do different powders react to different operating parameters?
•    Is it possible to find a robust mode of operation which provides satisfying results for various powder systems?
•    Can coating or granulation processes be done using this setup?

The investigation on these topics shall be done using an existing experimental setup, which can be modified to meet arising requirements. The student shall elaborate a design of experiments which covers the relevant operating range of the used vibration generator and accounts for different powder blends. Once defined, the mixing experiments are to be carried out. The blends, produced in this way, need to be analysed. The search for meaningful analysis methods is part of this work.

We offer
•    High scientific and industrial relevance (the approach involving this mixing process could speed up the development in pharmaceutical industry and allow to produce personalized medicine)
•    Support from the IPPE project team
•    Desk and office space

Andreas Kottlan,, 0316-873-30419
Starting date: as soon as possible

PAID MASTER’S THESIS: Influence of powder composition on macroscopic powder properties

To dedicated students who are interested in the pharmaceutical field (i.e. students of chemical engineering, pharmaceutical engineering, biomedical engineering, pharmacy, or related disciplines), we offer an opportunity to write a paid Master’s thesis.

Powder processing steps, such as feeding and mixing, are critical in many industries, including the pharmaceutical industry. For example, within a continuous tablet manufacturing environment, powder feeding impacts functionality and quality of the final product. For the rational design of such operations the powder properties need to be known, including the particle size distribution, bulk (poured) and tapped density, flowability, compressibility, electrostatic chargeability and tendency to segregate.

Thus, the development of solid dosage forms and the associated manufacturing processes requires a good understanding of the relationship between powder composition and the properties of the powder.


  • Extensive participation in a top-level and industrially relevant research project in an international environment Supervised training in the task
  • Assistance of experienced staff with the implementation of innovative ideas
  • Access to highly modern infrastructure on campus of Graz University of Technology
  • Assistance with the publication of results Adequate compensation and opportunities for personal and professional development

Compensation on the basis of a service contract

If you are interested in writing your thesis at the process and particle engineering institute of TUGraz, please contact us indicating the reference number. Candidates will be selected on a competitive basis and will be selected without regard to sex, race or nationality.

Contact: Sara Fathollahi (, 0316 873 30938)

Statin synthesis via heterogeneous (bio)catalysis (Paid Master Thesis)

Statins are the active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) of many cholesterol lowering drugs. Their structure consists of the typical statin side-chain possessing two chiral alcohols linked to a heterocyclic core. This side-chain can be synthesized from simple and inexpensive starting materials via a two-step aldol condensation catalyzed by an enzyme called DERA (2-deoxyribose-5-phosphate aldolase). The side-chain can either be directly built at the core of the molecule or linked to the heterocyclic core subsequently via a C-C coupling reaction catalyzed by Palladium.

The goal of this work is to investigate the biocatalytic step in this synthetic route. A number of substrates, such as acetaldehyde, chloroacetaldehyd, benzaldehyde and cinnamaldehyde, will be testes as acceptors in the aldol condensation. The obtained product will be characterized and evaluated according to their potential for serving as intermediate in the synthetic route of statins. Further the enzyme (enclosed in E. coli cells) will be immobilized in order to apply it in a continuous process.

The results of this thesis will serve in the development of an integrated multistep process for the synthesis of statins consisting of a biocatalytic and a metal-catalyzed step.

The objectives of this work are:

  • Substrate screening in batch
  • Immobilization of the enzyme/cells for the application in a continuous process
  • Purification and characterization of the products (NMR)

We offer:

  • payment according to the FWF-rate (€440/month)
  • a comprehensive introduction to the research topic
  • access to novel experimental and analytical devices
  • individual assistance for an efficient realization of the thesis

Start: March 2018
Contact: Bianca Grabner (, 0316 873 30409)

Exploiting Artificial Intelligence in Gas-Particle Flow Simulations

Current trends in advanced multiphase flow prediction aim at the usage of machine learning algorithms and deep neural networks to improve the accuracy and to speed-up numerical simulations. Overall, it can be expected that these tools (and artificial intelligence, AI, in a wider context) will become an important part of numerical modelling used in chemical engineering applications.

The overarching goal of this Master Thesis project is to increase the speed of gas-particle flow simulations (see the right panel in the Figure below) by using an AI-powered prediction algorithm.

Your tasks will include (i) a literature review on the usage of deep learning in numerical simulations, (ii) an investigation related to key parameters of a neural net structure to speed up a widely-used gas-particle flow simulator, and (iii) application of the improved simulator to a use case. The machine learning and deep neural nets will be based on existing open source AI platforms (e.g., Tensorflow), for which expert knowledge is already available at our institute.


  • Interest in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), Discrete Element Method (DEM)
  • Basics programming skills (Matlab/octave, Python, C/C++ or other), and interest to refine your programming skills during the Master Thesis project

We offer

  • Extremely high scientific and industrial relevance
  • Introduction to the leading open-source gas-particle simulation tools OpenFOAM® and CFDEM®. Support with the AI platform, as well as with respect to programming.
  • Computer power, desk and office space
  • Possibility to publish the results and findings in a scientific journal


Josef Tausendschön:, Stefan Radl:

Michaela Cibulka

Institute of Process and Particle Engineering
Inffeldgasse 13
8010 Graz

+43 (316) 873 - 30403
+43 (316) 873 - 1030403
Office hours
nach Vereinbarung