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The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the Center author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Center Overview

The Center for Advanced Research in Drying (CARD) focuses on developing novel technologies, equipment, and strategies that enhance and optimize the drying of semi-moist, porous materials. CARD’s mission is to assist U.S. manufacturing industries in becoming more environmentally sustainable and improving the quality of their products by using advanced technology in heat/mass transfer processes, such as drying, heating, cooling, freezing, dewatering, and baking.

Drying of moist, porous materials is one of the most energy-intensive processes in manufacturing and impacts a wide range of industries, including paper and forestry products, food and agriculture, chemicals, textiles, and biopharmaceuticals.

CARD has these objectives:

  • Reduce energy and water consumption in drying and related heat/mass transfer processes.
  • Reduce energy footprint of companies.
  • Improve product quality while drying faster.
  • Train the next generation workforce for 21st-century jobs.

CARD will help member industry partners:

  • Lead in novel process improvement technology.
  • Capture a healthy share of the manufacturing market.
  • Generate and maintain new U.S. jobs.
  • Assure a strong U.S. economy and standard of living.


  • University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
  • Worcester Polytechnic Institute
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Center Personnel

Dr. Hao Feng
UIUC Site Director
217 244-2571

Dr. Jamal Yagoobi
Center Director

Patricia Howe
Program Administrator

Dr. Cosme Furlong
WPI Site Co-Director

Dr. Irfan Ahmad
UIUC Site Co-Director/Innovation Director
217 333-2015

Dr. Mark Lippi
Program Manager

Research Focus

Developing novel sensors
There is tremendous need to develop novel sensors that can be incorporated in new ways to advance the science of drying, baking, freezing, and more. Many of these sensors need to be able to operate in harsh environments of high and low temperatures and elevated stresses. These sensors will ultimately be used to create artificial intelligence programs to improve operating processes.

  • An integrated multiscale modeling and sensors-based approach to study strains and stresses in foods undergoing glass transition during drying.
  • Smart drying enabled by multisource data fusion and machine learning.
  • Tip-based optical fiber sensors for continuous, in situ measurements of trapped moisture and pressure.

Developing novel technologies
CARD is finding alternative methods to drive moisture out of products. These are also low-energy processes that reduce the overall energy expenditure to dry a given weight of product.

  • Tip-based optical fiber sensors for continuous, in-situ measurements of trapped moisture.
  • Enhancement of drying rate of moist porous media with electric field.

Improving energy/water productivity
CARD is solving fluid transport problems through research, experimentation, modeling, system simulation, smart sensors/packaging, energy conservation, and next-generation workforce education.

Improving existing processes
CARD is using new methods and strategies to improve and speed up drying of existing drying operations. 

  • Enhancement of heat and mass transfer with innovative impinging jet nozzles.
  • Spray drying using novel nozzle design to improve droplet formation for fine powders.