Louis Fradette

Louis Fradette

Département de génie chimique
École Polytechnique de Montréal

Chair title

NSERC/Total Industrial Research Chair in Hydrodynamic Modelling of Multiphase Processes at Extreme Conditions

Chair program

Industrial Research Chairs program


Associate Chairholder since 2011

Related Chair

Jamal Chaouki


Multiphase flows are widely used for the production of energy fuels, chemicals and biotechnological products in petroleum extraction and even in environmental engineering. Feedstocks are changing rapidly due to the shortage of conventional resources. New fuel sources and blends of feedstocks like biomass, coal and petcoke are typical for many current and future industrial applications. Their intrinsic variability combined with stringent environmental constraints makes the processes much more difficult to design and operate. Furthermore, the use of high temperature and/or high pressure during conversion and handling of high viscosity materials and/or viscosity ratios results in extreme processing conditions for which the multiphase process hydrodynamics are completely unknown.

The management and conservation of natural resources are the fundamental challenges to implementing green processes and sustainable development. Economic growth in the 21st century will require safe and sustainable resources to support the increasing needs of society. It is vital to find original solutions and technologies that have the potential to use much more complex raw materials, including non-renewable resources (heavy petroleum, coal, and minerals) as well as renewable resources. For example, Canada has approximately 36.4 Mha of crop land; after grain harvesting, most crop residues are left on the field. The surplus straw available for biofuel production from the prairies after livestock feeding, bedding, insulation and mulching amounts to over 15 Mt. It is also imperative to address the environmental issues that have resulted from the rapid growth of the world population and the corresponding increase in the use of renewable and non-renewable resources. This is a highly strategic issue because these technologies are up-stream of any development.

Numerous forms of stabilized multiphase flows are encountered in all the processes related to the oil and petrochemical industries: from the crude-oil well to the refinery and further downstream in the production of chemicals, such as paints, resins and polymers. These flows can see all possible combinations of gas, liquids, immiscible liquid mixtures, and solids. Pickering emulsions or solid-stabilized emulsions (SSEs) have been described long ago (Pickering, 1907). With this type of emulsions, the dispersed phase droplets are thermodynamically stabilized with fine particles positioned at the phase interface originating from their affinity for both fluids. Pickering emulsions are strongly conditioned by the wettability of the solids present as well as the size of the solids; the latter directly determines the quantity of solids required to stabilize a given average drop size.

The very special properties of SSEs create opportunities for the development of new or improved processes. However, these properties must be first understood and the influence of the various parameters quantified.

The objective of the proposed research program is to model multiphase process hydrodynamics under extreme conditions applicable to a broad range of technologies and processes, and more specifically, develop phenomenological hydrodynamic models for multiphase processes involved in energy production and petrochemicals. Specific objectives are to contribute to the fundamental understanding of multiphase reactors to develop new and improved processes and to train highly qualified specialists in the development and implementation of these new technologies for the benefit of Canada.

TOTAL especially supports this Chair because it combines high-level theoretical research, in domains of interest to the TOTAL Group, by specifying that it is the complete process that is analyzed and not only the CFD, and numerous diverse experimental projects at various scales.


  • Total E&P Canada Ltd.
  • Total American Services Inc.
  • Total SA, France

Contact information

Département de génie chimique
École Polytechnique de Montréal
2900 boulevard Édouard-Montpetit
2500 chemin de Polytechnique
Montréal, Québec
H3T 1J4

Tel.: 514-340-4711, ext. 3956
Fax: 514-340-4105


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