Study level


Master of Philosophy


Vacation research experience scheme


Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Sara Couperthwaite
Senior Lecturer
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Dr David Hunter
Chemical Engineer (Operator)
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty
Professor Graeme Millar
Division / Faculty
Science and Engineering Faculty


Freeze desalination involves the cooling of water to sub-zero temperatures to form ice-crystals which exclude impurities from the crystal lattice.

The process itself is considered to be more energy efficient than evaporative desalination due to the lower latent heat of fusion when compared to the latent heat of vaporisation.

However, fouling due to ice crystal build-up on the cooling-surface of the crystalliser has hindered the commercial development and application of these technologies.

One potential option for reducing fouling is in a fluidised bed column crystalliser. In such a system, a bed of particles is fluidised by the water being desalinated. The particles in the fluidised bed collide with ice crystals that form on the cooling surface of the crystalliser and scraping them from the surface reducing fouling.

Research activities

During this research project, you'll be involved in:

  • designing a laboratory scale fluidised bed column crystalliser.
  • conducting various experiments using a fluidised bed column crystalliser.
  • analysing experimental data.
  • developing models to describe the hydro- and thermo-dynamics of a fluidised bed column crystalliser.


The aim of this project is to:

  • develop an experimental system for investigating the use of a fluidised bed ice crystalliser.
  • investigate the effect of various particle properties on the reduction of ice fouling.
  • study the hydro- and thermo-dynamics of the fluidised bed column crystalliser.

Skills and experience

To be eligible for this project, you must either:

  • be currently enrolled in chemical process or mechanical engineering streams at QUT (VRES or Honours).
  • have graduated from a university with a degree in chemical process engineering or similar with high academic standing (Master of Philosophy or PhD).



Contact the supervisor for more information.