2018-2019: This student team collaborated with FloDesign Sonics (FDS), a startup utilizing acoustic particle manipulation technology to enable next generation manufacturing of cell and gene therapies. One FDS device uses acoustic affinity cell selection to isolate T-cells as a starting material for these therapies. The technology consists of a fluidized bed reactor with acoustically sensitive affinity beads to facilitate cell selection. The process relies on effective mixing between the fluids and the beads. The goal of this project was to redesign the multi-phase flow channel to improve mixing by maximizing cell separation and reducing residence time.
The team iteratively developed a baseline simulation of the current flow channel in ANSYS Fluent. Informed by a literature review, the team generated a variety of concepts to meet the main design requirements. The team simulated and evaluated the different design options, identifying the more effective strategies. The team also 3D printed functional prototypes of three selected designs and then conducted experiments to verify their numerical models, comparing the normalized residence time distributions. Final deliverables included CAD models, ANSYS Fluent simulation results, physical prototypes, and experimental results.