Explosion Avoidance: Dust Reduction in Food Manufacturing
Founded in 1959 and headquartered in Ada, Michigan, Amway is the world’s #1 direct selling company, offering consumer products and business opportunities in more than 100 countries and territories worldwide.
Dustiness of powders is vitally important to the consumer products industry, particularly in the manufacturing process: overly dusty products can lead to buildup of static charge, which can result in safety concerns. Between 1980 and 2005, 281 combustible dust accidents occurred in the US, leading to 119 fatalities, 718 injuries, and extensive damage to numerous industrial facilities.
The student team will develop a measurement method and/or tool that quickly provides reliable and accurate measurements of the dust generating properties of a powder. This method/tool must be valid for a range of food powders. Amway engineers will utilize this measurement tool to support their design choices within the manufacturing environment.
Internship interviews guaranteed for US citizens only. Amway is unable to offer internships to international students. International students are welcome to apply for the project.
More information: 2017-Amway
Students who successfully match to this project team will be required to sign the following two documents in January 2017:
- Skill level All levels
- Students 5-7
- Likely Majors Any, BIOCHEM, BME, ChE, CHEM, DATA, MSE, MATH, ME, STATS
- Course Substitutions ChE Elec, ME 490, Honors, CHEM 399
- IP & NDA Required? Yes
- Summer Opportunity Interview Guaranteed
Food Material Properties Evaluation (2 Students)
Physical chemistry, mechanical behavior of materials
- Likely Majors: MSE, ChE, CHEM, BIOCHEM
Protein Chemistry (1 Student)
- Likely Majors: BIOCHEM, BME
Equipment Design & Fabrication (1-2 Students)
Mechanical Design, Sensor Integration, CAD, Prototyping/fabrication, experimental validation
- Likely Majors: ME, BME
Statistics (1-2 Students)
Statistics, Experimental Design, Error Analysis, Testing Validation
- Likely Majors: STAT, MATH, STEM majors with advanced experimental design skills
Faculty Mentor: Mark Banaszak Holl
Professor of Chemistry; Director of Macromolecular Science and Engineering, College of Engineering
A remarkable convergence is occurring between two previously disparate fields, biology and materials science. Great strides have been made during the past 50 years in understanding many biological macromolecules including proteins, DNA, RNA, and viruses that have dimensions on the nanoscale. Simultaneously, the materials science community has developed the ability to synthesize and characterize similarly sized nanoparticles from a wide array of substances including organic and inorganic polymers, semiconductors, ceramics, and metals. We now find ourselves at an interesting juncture. Both the biological and materials science communities need to understand how these nanoscale materials, whether synthetic or natural in origin, interact with biological membranes. This understanding is critically important for ongoing efforts ranging from designing drug delivery to understanding viral infections, from membrane protein function to the toxicity of the wide variety of new synthesized particles being created in laboratories and companies everyday. We must understand both the intended and unintended consequences of our new creations and the interactions they have with nature’s nanoparticles.
Specific projects include the use of PAMAM dendrimers for the development of targeted chemotherapeutics and the mechanism of transfection of polycationic polymer/DNA polyplexes.
Sponsor Mentor: Matt Browne
Product Development Engineer
Matt is a Product Development Engineer at Amway with a Chemical Engineering background. His role involves the scale-up and development of operational documents for production of nutrition products, specifically protein powders, sports drinks and other nutritional powder-based beverages. Matt is passionate about powder production and methods of quantifying powder characteristics, which are currently somewhat limited within the powders industry.