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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 such as food and agricultural products, pulp and paper products, chemicals, textiles, and pharmaceuticals. 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 and novel technologies in heat/mass transfer processes, such as drying, heating, cooling, freezing, dewatering, and baking.

CARD has these objectives:

  • Reduce energy, water consumption, and carbon footprint in drying and related heat/mass transfer processes.
  • Enhance both product quality and throughput of our member’s products.
  • Train the next generation workforce for 21st-century jobs.

CARD will help member industry partners:

  • Lead in novel drying 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.


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

Center Personnel

Dr. Jamal Yagoobi
Center Director
+1 508 831 4979

Dr. Hao Feng
UIUC Site Director
+1 217 244 2571

Dr. Irfan Ahmad
UIUC Site Co-Director/Innovation Director
+1 217 333 2015

Dr. Cosme Furlong
WPI Site Co-Director
+1 508 831 5126

Dr. Mark Lippi
Program Manager
+1 269 420 7432

Patricia Howe
Program Administrator
+1 508 831 4875

Research Focus

Improving Existing Processes

CARD is using new methods and strategies to improve and speed up drying of existing drying operations. This includes deep dives into the fundamental microstructures of products.

  • Enhance heat and mass transfer with innovative impinging jet nozzles.
  • Improve spray drying design using novel nozzles to create fine, uniform particulates.
  • Foundational research characterizing moisture transfer and microstructure of products.

Developing Novel Technologies

CARD is finding alternative methods to drive moisture out of products. These technologies reduce overall energy expenditure to dry a given weight of product.

  • Develop unique applications using electric field and ultrasonic drying.
  • Separation of ethanol from fermentation media using ultrasonics.
  • Enhance paper drying using electrohydrodynamic principles.

Developing Novel Sensors

There is tremendous need to develop novel drying technologies and 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 stress. These technologies will ultimately be used to create artificial intelligence programs to improve drying processes.

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