skip to content

Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology


Magnetic Resonance group

Catalysis group


My research interests at the Magnetic Resonance Research Centre lie in the development and application magnetic resonance methods to process and reaction engineering and in particular the understanding of multi-component reaction, diffusion and flow processes.

In Particular my interests focus on the development and application of ultra-fast magnetic resonance (MR) techniques to problems encountered in process engineering. We have principally used these techniques in the areas of fluid dynamics of single- and two-phase flows and in trickle bed reactors though the ability of MRI to acquire fast non-invasive, motion sensitive images is of value in many areas of process engineering to help improve fundamental understanding. In recent years we have reduced typical image acquisition times by up to 3 orders of magnitude and applied these imaging techniques to systems of process interest.

Trickle Bed Reactors

Trickle bed reactors are 3-phase reactors used in many industrial processes. Trickle bed reactors are typically packed beds of ceramic support particles, on which the catalyst is held, and gas/liquid is flowed through. The efficiency and homogeneity of gas/liquid/catalyst contact strongly affects the efficiency and selectivity of the reactor. Non-invasive ultra-fast MR imaging (50 frames per second) provides a greater understanding of the processes occurring at a local particle level as the flow transition from trickle to pulsing flow is observed. Recent work has also shown that we can use MRI to investigate local chemical composition during reaction inside a trickle bed. With hydrodynamic and chemical composition information obtained on a local particle level a greater understanding, and therefore better design, can be approached.

Single and multi-phase flows in pipes

Single and multi-phase flows in pipes are found in many process areas from merely being used for substance transport - liquids, gasses, suspensions, pneumatic conveying - to being the reactor itself - Fluidised beds, PFRs, monolith reactors. In all of these, the flow conditions will have an important effect on the properties and efficiency of the process and it is therefore important to gain a good understanding of phase distribution and motion. We have been developing ultra-fast MR imaging and velocity measurements that acquire velocity and phase distribution images in 20 ms and applying these to systems such as fluidised beds (with the combustion group), turbulent flows and monolith reactors.


Key publications: 

Mullin, T., Seddon, J.R.T., Mantle, M.D., Sederman, A.J.,  'Bifurcation phenomena in the flow through a sudden expansion in a circular pipe.' Phys. Fluids 21, 2009

Darton, N.J., Sederman, A.J., Ionescu, A., Ducati, C., Darton, R., Gladden, L.F., Slater, N.K.H.,  'Manipulation and tracking of superparamagnetic nanoparticles using MRI.' Nanotechnology 19, 2008

Huntley, J.M., Martin, T.W., Mantle, M.D., Shattuck, M.D., Sederman, A.J., Wildman, R.D., Gladden, L.F., Halliwell, N.A., 'NMR measurements and hydrodynamic simulations of phase-resolved velocity distributions within a three-dimensional vibrofluidized granular bed.' Proc. R. Soc. A-Math. Phys. Eng. Sci. 463, 2519, 2007

Anadon, L.D., Sederman, A.J., Gladden, L.F., 'Mechanism of the trickle-to-pulse flow transition in fixed-bed reactors.' Aiche J. 52, 1522, 2006

Aussillous, P., Sederman, A.J., Gladden, L.F., Huppert, H.E., Worster, M.G., 'Magnetic resonance imaging of structure and convection in solidifying mushy layers.' J. Fluid Mech. 552, 99, 2006

Muller, C.R., Davidson, J.F., Dennis, J.S., Fennell, P.S., Gladden, L.F., Hayhurst, A.N., Mantle, M.D., Rees, A.C., Sederman, A.J., 'Real-time measurement of bubbling phenomena in a three-dimensional gas-fluidized bed using ultrafast magnetic resonance imaging.' Phys. Rev. Lett. 96, 4, 2006

Sederman, A.J., Gladden, L.F., 'Transition to pulsing flow in trickle-bed reactors studied using MRI.' Aiche J. 51, 615, 2005

Sederman, A.J., Mantle, M.D., Dunckley, C.P., Huang, Z.Y., Gladden, L.F., 'In situ MRI study of 1-octene isomerisation and hydrogenation within a trickle-bed reactor.' Catal. Lett. 103, 1, 2005

Sederman, A.J., Mantle, M.D., Buckley, C., Gladden, L.F., 'MRI technique for measurement of velocity vectors, acceleration, and autocorrelation functions in turbulent flow.' J. Magn. Reson. 166, 182, 2004

Sederman, A.J., Johns, M.L., Alexander, P., Gladden, L.F., 'Structure-flow correlations in packed beds.' Chem. Eng. Sci. 53, 2117, 1998

Professor in Magnetic Resonance in Engineering
Doctor Andy  Sederman

Contact Details

Email address: 


Person keywords: 
porous media
Multiphase Flow