Dr Mark Leaper


Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry


I joined Aston University as a Lecturer in the Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry (CEAC) section in September 2012.  After gaining my PhD, I held a number of academic positions involved with particle technology and processing before obtaining a lecturing position in the School of Pharmacy at De Montfort University. I have published numerous journal papers in the field of particle technology and chemical engineering since 2002.

Qualifications & Education 

  • BEng Chemical Engineering, Loughborough University 1993
  • MSc Bulk Solids Handling, Glasgow Caledonian University, 1995
  • PhD in Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham, 2002
  • PGCert HE, De Montfort University, 2010


  • 2012- date: Lecturer in Chemical Engineering, CEAC, Aston University.
  • 2007-2012: Senior Lecturer, School of Pharmacy, De Montfort University, Leicester.
  • 2004-2007: Research Fellow, School of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, University of Nottingham.
  • 2002-2004: Research Fellow, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Nottingham.
  • 1999-2002: Research Fellow, Wolfson Centre for Bulk Solids Handling, University of Greenwich.

Teaching activity for 2014/15 

  • CE4018 Advanced Particle Processing (MEng)
  • CE3013 Particle Processing
  • CH1105 States of Matter
  • CE4005 MEng Research Project
  • CE3003/CE4503 Advanced Process Design
  • CE2106 Reaction Kinetics

Research interests 

Powder technology, especially powder flow and caking. Pharmaceutical engineering. Particle surface analysis using Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM). Manipulation of particles using vibration. Novel particle separation processes.

Recent research funding

  • Diamond Light Source - £35k - 1/10/2014 - 30/9/2017 - Particle manipulation for use in synchrotrons, PhD jointly funded with CEAC.
  • EPSRC - £11k – 1/10/2011 - 30/11/2012 - Enhancing Powder Technology Research Cooperation Between De Montfort University and Scandinavian Institutions, in collaboration with POSTEC Research, Porsgrunn, Norway

  • East Midlands Development Agency (EMDA) - £15k – 1/3/2011 - 30/9/2011 – Innovation Fellowship

  • EPSRC - £290K – 1/4/2009 - 31/5/2011- grant number EP/G016224/1 “Novel particle analysis methods”, supported by Unilever Research Port Sunlight

  • East Midlands Development Agency (EMDA) - £55k – 1/1/2009-31/3/2010 – “Leaving out the lumps – using AFM to analyse the caking of spray-dried materials”, in collaboration with Dr Andrew Stapley, Department of Chemical Engineering, Loughborough University

Postgraduate Activities

Admissions tutor for MSc in Pharmaceutical Engineering, with a minimum requirement of 2.2 in Pharmaceutical Science, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering or related subject.

MPhil/PhD/MSc by research opportunities are also available for graduates obtaining at least a 2.1 in a relevant subject.

Membership of Professional Bodies

  • Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (FIChemE)
  • Chartered Engineer (CEng)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA)
  • Committee member of Particle Technology Special Interest Group (PTSIG)


Peer-reviewed Journal Papers

Liu, S., Leaper, M.C. and Miles, N., 2014. Particle separation by horizontal deflection in paramagnetic fluid, Powder Technology, Vol 267(11) 26-38.


Liu, S., Leaper, M. and Miles, N., 2014. Vertical flotation of particles in a paramagnetic fluid, Powder Technology, Vol 261(10) 71-77.


Liu, S., Xiang, Y., Leaper, M., Miles, N.J., 2014. Horizontal deflection of single particle in a paramagnetic fluid, European Physical Journal (Part E), Vol 37 (6) 47-52.


Leaper, M.C., and Prime, D., 2013. The use of atomic force microscopy in investigating particle caking mechanisms, Chemical Engineering and Technology, Vol 36 (10) 1801-1805.


Jones, J.R., Prime, D.C., Leaper, M.C., Richardson, D.J., Rielly C.D. and Stapley, A.G.F., 2013. Effect of processing variables and bulk composition on the surface composition of spray dried powders of a model food system, Journal of Food Engineering. Vol 118, 19-30.


Leaper, M.C., Prime, D., Taylor, P.M. and Leach, V., 2013. A comparison of compacting and caking behaviour of carbonate-based washing powders, Drying Technology, Vol 31 (7) 769-774.


Leaper, M.C., Prime, D., Taylor, P.M. and Leach, V., 2012. Solid Bridge formation between spray-dried sodium carbonate particles, Drying Technology, Vol 30 (9) 1008-1013.


Prime, D., Stapley, A.G.F., Rielly, C.D., Jones, J.R. and Leaper, M.C.,2011. Analysis of powder caking in multi-component powders using atomic force microscopy to examine particle properties, Chemical Engineering and Technology, Vol 34 (1) 98-102.


Prime, D., Leaper, M.C., Jones, J.R., Richardson, D.J., Rielly, C.D. and Stapley, A.G.F., 2011. Caking behaviour of spray-dried milk powders - using scanning probe microscopy to study nanoscale surface properties, Chemical Engineering and Technology, Vol 34 (7) 1104-1108.


Leaper M.C., 2008. Quality control of pharmaceutical ingredients: developing a caking test for industry, Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, Vol 60, A25.


Lopez-Alcaraz, P., Catherall, A.T., Leaper, M.C., Swift, M.R. and King, P.J., 2007. Magneto-vibratory separation of glass and bronze granular mixtures immersed in aqueous paramagnetic solutions, European Physical Journal (Part E), Vol 24 (2) 145-156.


Leaper, M.C. and Hilal, N., 2007. Bed Expansion – Extending correlations for fluidized beds with inserts to open fluidized beds, Chemical Engineering and Technology. Vol 30 (5) 1-5.


Leaper, M.C., King, A.C. and Burbidge A.S., 2007. Total solution of Gibilaro and Rowe model for a segregating fluidised bed, Chemical Engineering and Technology, Vol 30 (2) 161-167.


Christakis, N., Wang, J., Patel, M.K., Bradley, M.S.A., Leaper, M.C. and Cross M., 2006. Aggregation and caking processes of granular materials: continuum model and simulation with application to sugar, Advanced Powder Technology Vol 17 (5) 543-565.


Leaper, M.C., Smith, A.J., Swift, M.R., King P.J., Webster, H.E., Miles, N. and Kingman, S.W., 2005. The behaviour of water-immersed glass-bronze particulate systems under vertical vibration, Granular Matter Vol 7 (2-3) 56-66.


Smith A.J., Leaper, M.C., Swift, M.R. and King P.J., 2005. Travelling waves on a water-immersed binary granular system, Physical Review (Part E), 71 031303.


Milburn, R.J., Naylor, M.A, Smith, A.J., Leaper, M.C., Good, K., Swift, M.R. and King, P.J., 2005. Faraday tilting of water-immersed granular beds, Physical Review (Part E), 71 011308.


Anabtawi , M.Z., Hilal N., Leaper, M.C. and Hastaoglu, M.A., 2005. Force balance model of a spouted bed for Darcy and non-Darcy flow in the annulus, Advanced Powder Technology, Vol 16 (1) 35-48.


Leaper, M.C., Seville, J.P.K., Hilal, N., Kingman, S.W. and Burbidge, A.S., 2004. Investigating the dynamics of segregation of high-jetsam binary batch fluidised bed systems, Chemical Engineering and Processing, Vol 43 (2) 187-192.

Leaper, M.C., Seville, J.P.K., Hilal, N., Kingman, S.W. and Burbidge, A.S., 2004. Examining predictive correlations for equilibrium concentration profiles in jetsam-rich systems, Advanced Powder Technology  Vol 15 (3) 311-320.

Leaper, M.C., Hilal, N. and Kingman, S.W., 2004. Investigating binary mixtures fluidised using a porous plate, Advanced Powder Technology Vol 15 (4) 435-446.

Verbych, S., Hilal, N., Sorokin, G. and Leaper M.C.,2004. Ion exchange extraction of heavy metal ions from wastewater, Separation Science and Technology, Vol 39 No 9 2031-2040.

Christakis, N., Wang, J., Patel, M.K., Leaper, M.C., and Cross, M., 2004. A Computational model of coupled heat and moisture transfer with phase change in granular sugar during varying environmental conditions, Numerical Heat Transfer (Part A), Vol 45, No.8  751-776.

Hilal, N., Leaper, M.C., Hastaoglu, M.A. and Kingman, S.W., 2004. The relationship between particle properties and fluidising velocity during fluidised bed heat transfer, Advanced Powder Technology, Vol 15 (5) 583-594.

Anabtawi, M.Z., Hilal , N., Al Muftah, A.E. and Leaper, M.C., Volumetric mass transfer in non-newtonian fluids in spout-fluid beds at low Reynolds numbers, 2004. Particulate Science and Technology. Vol 22, No 4 391-403.

Burtally, N., King, P.J., Swift, M.J. and Leaper, M.C.,2003. Dynamical behaviour of fine granular glass/bronze mixtures under vertical vibration, Granular Matter Vol 5 (2) 57-66.

Leaper, M.C., Berry, R.J., Bradley, M.S.A., Bridle, I., Reed, A.R., Abou-Chakra, H. and Tüzün, U., 2003. Measuring the Tensile Strength of Caked Sugar Produced From Humidity Cycling, Proceedings of I.Mech.E. (part E) Vol 217 E1 41-47.

Abou-Chakra H., Tüzün, U., Leaper, M.C., Bradley, M.S.A., Bridle, I. and Reed, A.R., 2003. Assessing the potential of a fine powder to segregate using laser diffraction and sieve analysis techniques for measuring particle size, Advanced Powder Technology Vol 14 (2) 167-176.

Abou-Chakra H., Leaper, M.C., Bradley, M.S.A., Bridle, I., Reed, A.R. and Tüzün, U., 2003. An investigation of particle degradation by impact within a centrifugal accelerator type degradation tester, Proceedings of  I.Mech.E. (part E) Vol 217 E3 257-266.

Leaper, M.C., Bradley, M.S.A., Cleaver, J.A.S., Bridle, I., Reed, A.R., Abou-Chakra H. and Tüzün, U., 2002. Constructing an Engineering Model for Moisture Migration in Bulk Solids as a Prelude to Predicting Moisture Migration Caking, Advanced Powder Technology Vol 13 (4) 414-424.

Leaper, M.C., Kingman, S.W. and Seville, J.P.K, 2002. Application of permanent dry high intensity magnetic separation for the processing of spent FCC catalyst, Magnetic and Electrical Separation Vol 11 (3) 141-153.




Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research