Massachusetts Institute of Technology Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Department of Chemical Engineering

The Hatton Group

Fei Chen

Fei Chen
Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering


Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, MIT (2009)
M.S. in Chemical Engineering Practice, MIT (2007)
M.S. in Chemical Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, (2004)
B.S. in Chemical Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, (2001)

Research Summary:
Transport phenomena, colloids and surface science, functional polymer materials, modeling and simulation

Current Research Project:
Thesis title: Magnetically enhanced centrifugation for biopharmaceutical processing, Sponsored by DuPont-MIT Alliance

The separation of biopharmaceutical products from production media continues to be a challenging task, and the search for improvements in processing efficiencies is actively being pursued by many research groups around the world.  Specifically, the biggest challenges in modern biopharmaceutical downstream processing are the integration of unit operations and the development of continuous type operation. High gradient magnetic Separation (HGMS) is a promising technique as it integrates many batch operations as one single step.  However, so far, most HGMS processes are discontinuous and there is no commercially available one that can satisfy the specific needs of biopharmaceutical processing.

For this purpose, we propose to exploit the interactions of functionalized magnetic nanoparticle/nanocluster with magnetic field gradients, forced convective flows and large centrifugal forces to facilitate the recovery of biopharmaceuticals from the media in which they are manufactured.  We are developing various numerical tools, including, a particle trajectory model to track the particle movement and its capture onto magnetizable wires, a dynamic particle buildup growth model to study the dynamic process of particle accumulation and its effects on surrounding flow and magnetic fields, and a DEM code to investigate the behavior of the particle sludge under a centrifugal field.

We are also carrying out experiments to verify the validity of our models. A small scale single-wire flow channel was made to test the dynamic buildup growth model. And a real magneto-centrifugal contactor was used to study the bulk movement of particle buildup under centrifugal force and compared with DEM simulation results. It was shown that our models comprise a powerful tool for the design, evaluation, and optimization of continuous magneto-centrifugal contactors that are suitable for biopharmaceutical processing.




The Hatton Group, 77 Mass. Ave, Rm 66-309, Cambridge, MA 02139 | Phone: 617.253.4588 | Updated: September 23, 2013