27th July 2017


Polymer reaction engineering requires an understanding of the close relation of chemistry to the process engineering. In order to implement any process where the kinetics and thermodynamics of the chemistry become convolved with dynamics and design of the process technology, gaining an understanding is important and this often requires the use of computer modelling and simulation in order to resolve the complexity of the overall system.

Sometimes experience allows one to make judgements without involving such detailed planning. It is also essential to be able to make real-time measurements in order to achieve effective control of a process, particularly where the dynamics are fast, and these measurements must be interpreted in the appropriate time scales using computer systems to ensure process stability. Many of the techniques needed are generic and it is possible to use them for processes outside the polymerisation field as some of the projects undertaken summarized below illustrate.

Obviously, all work conducted by Gluco Technology is carried out under strict confidentiality so it is only possible to give the briefest of description of the project which have been successfully undertaken revealing nothing about the identity of the customer. In all the cases cited either patents were applied for or granted by the customer or the work led to profitable production methods – sometimes both.

Some typical projects conducted for customers include :

  • A semi-batch computer controlled and monitored pilot-scale reactor facility for a multi-national paint company for the composition control of a multi-component copolymer product where the chain sequence length of the units in the polymer chain had a significant impact on the physical properties of the product.
  • The modelling, simulation, and real-time control of a full-scale living anionic polymerisation process conducted in a flow reactor system for the production of tailored acrylic polymers for a multi-national oil company.
  • The formulation design and batch casting process design of a multi-tonne polyurethane component for sub-sea applications for a major multi-national oil company.
  • The development of an exceptionally fast mixing system for the manufacture of surfactants with a novel solid-state morphologies for a multi-national house-hold goods manufacturer.
  • The design of a fully computer controlled reactive injection moulding process for the production of a precision drug-release polymer gel device for a multi-national pharmaceutical company where the product and process had to not only conform to FDA requirements but the device had to replicate the performance of a device previously hand crafted.
  • The modelling and construction of a pilot-scale mixing device for the continuous manufacture of a food product which had been made previously using a batch manufacturing methods on behalf of a multi-national food company, a design which was subsequently scale-up for the full-scale manufacture of the product.
  • The design of a thermosetting heat activated adhesive and its dispense system for the bonding of steel-to-steel for a mobile and continuous oil pipe-line repair system being developed by a subsidiary of a major oil company for use in both desert and artic conditions where the dynamics of the dispense and cure had to match the dynamics of the cladding machinery.
  • For a start-up company, the formulation design and full-scale manufacturing system design and implementation for the continuous manufacture of a biodegradable polymer suitable for conversion into packaging film using standard thermoplastic film blowing lines.