Dr. Saman Ilankoon

Senior Lecturer
School of Engineering

+603 5515 9640
Room 5-5-04

Personal statement

Dr Saman is currently a Senior Lecturer in Chemical Engineering at Monash University Malaysia campus and have been teaching both fluid mechanics and separation processes. He was also a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London. His research was on hydrodynamics and mass transfer within heap leaching systems, which are hydrometallurgical processes to extract precious and base metals from its low grade ores. Dr Saman was awarded his PhD in Minerals Processing by the Department of Earth Science and Engineering at Imperial College London in December 2012. His thesis was entitled “Hydrodynamics of unsaturated particle beds pertaining to heap leaching”. In it, he has explored the fluid flow behaviour in heap leaching systems experimentally by measuring liquid holdup and tracer transport.

Dr Saman has extensive mining, minerals processing, chemical process engineering, and industrial rock blasting teaching and research experiences at Imperial College London, Monash University Malaysia campus (Department of Chemical Engineering) and University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka (Department of Earth Resources Engineering). Most of it focused on processing of low grade ores, improving the efficiency of metal extraction systems, porous media flow studies, waste management (electronic waste or e-waste) and sustainability aspects of minerals processing. His work provided a useful link between minerals engineering, waste management and unsaturated fluid flow in mineral extraction systems encouraging research collaborations.

Academic degrees

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Minerals Processing, Imperial College London, 2012
  • Degree in Engineering (Mining and Minerals Processing), University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, 2008

Professional affiliations

Member of National Professional Bodies

  • Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM), Member

Member of International Professional Bodies

  • The Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, Professional Graduate Member

Research Interests

The behaviour of unsaturated gravity driven flow of liquid through packed beds of particles is important to a number of different processes ranging from trickle bed reactors (TBRs) in chemical engineering to heap leaching in minerals processing as it is the major driver in the mass transport of reagents to the particle surface as well as for the transport of the dissolved species out of the system. This flow is complex as it is unsaturated and occurs through a network of channels between particles typically in the range of millimetres to a few centimetres in size. These flows exhibit channelling/preferential flow brought about by a combination of inhomogeneity in the particle beds and gravity fingering, which reduce recovery efficiencies. My research is currently focusing on understanding of channelling flow features in particle bed systems and novel methods will also be employed to minimise these adverse flow features. In addition, the particles themselves are porous and hold liquid within channels and fractures with dimensions much smaller than those of the liquid within the inter-particle spaces. Inter-particle flow features thus need to be separated from intra-particle flow and it will be addressed by performing experimental and simulation studies.


Units taught

CHE2161 - Mechanics of Fluids

CHE3165 - Separation Processes


Lim, Yi An; Chong, Meng Nan; Foo, Su Chern; Ilankoon, I. M.S.K.; , 2021, Analysis of direct and indirect quantification methods of CO<inf>2</inf> fixation via microalgae cultivation in photobioreactors: A critical review, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Volume: 137, Issue Number: 13640321, 10.1016/j.rser.2020.110579

Fernando, W. Ashane M.; Ilankoon, I. M.S.K.; Rabbani, Arash; Chong, Meng Nan; , 2020, Applicability of pore networks to evaluate the inter-particle flow in heap leaching, Hydrometallurgy, Volume: 197, Issue Number: 0304386X, 10.1016/j.hydromet.2020.105451

Batapola, N. M.; Dushyantha, N. P.; Premasiri, H. M.R.; Abeysinghe, A. M.K.B.; Rohitha, L. P.S.; Ratnayake, N. P.; Dissanayake, D. M.D.O.K.; Ilankoon, I. M.S.K.; Dharmaratne, P. G.R.; , 2020, A comparison of global rare earth element (REE) resources and their mineralogy with REE prospects in Sri Lanka, Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, Volume: 200, Issue Number: 13679120, 10.1016/j.jseaes.2020.104475

Dushyantha, Nimila; Batapola, Nadeera; Ilankoon, I. M.S.K.; Rohitha, Sudath; Premasiri, Ranjith; Abeysinghe, Bandara; Ratnayake, Nalin; Dissanayake, Kithsiri; , 2020, The story of rare earth elements (REEs): Occurrences, global distribution, genesis, geology, mineralogy and global production, Ore Geology Reviews, Volume: 122, Issue Number: 01691368, 10.1016/j.oregeorev.2020.103521

Fernando, W. Ashane M.; Ilankoon, I. M.S.K.; Rabbani, Arash; Yellishetty, Mohan; , 2020, Inter-particle fluid flow visualisation of larger packed beds pertaining to heap leaching using X-ray computed tomography imaging, Minerals Engineering, Volume: 151, Issue Number: 08926875, 10.1016/j.mineng.2020.106334,

Kang, Kai Dean; Kang, Harnyi; Ilankoon, I. M.S.K.; Chong, Chun Yong; , 2020, Electronic waste collection systems using Internet of Things (IoT): Household electronic waste management in Malaysia, Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume: 252, Issue Number: 09596526, 10.1016/j.jclepro.2019.119801,

Fernando, W. Ashane M.; Ilankoon, I. M.S.K.; Krishnan, Sivanantha Gobal; Chokshi, Vraj (2019) The effects of packing shape and structure on liquid distribution of heap leaching systems: Addition of PCBs as non-ore particles, Hydrometallurgy, (149-157), Volume: 187, Issue Number: 0304386X, 10.1016/j.hydromet.2019.05.010

Yong, Yun Siew; Lim, Yi An; Ilankoon, I. M.S.K. (2019) An analysis of electronic waste management strategies and recycling operations in Malaysia: Challenges and future prospects, Journal of Cleaner Production, (151-166), Volume: 224, Issue Number: 09596526, 10.1016/j.jclepro.2019.03.205

Ilankoon, I. M.S.K.; Neethling, S. J. (2019) Inter-particle liquid spread pertaining to heap leaching using UV fluorescence based image analysis, Hydrometallurgy, (175-185), Volume: 183, Issue Number: 0304386X, 10.1016/j.hydromet.2018.12.007

Ilankoon, I. M.S.K.; Ghorbani, Yousef; Chong, Meng Nan; Herath, Gamini; Moyo, Thandazile; Petersen, Jochen (2018) E-waste in the international context – A review of trade flows, regulations, hazards, waste management strategies and technologies for value recovery, Waste Management, (258-275), Volume: 82, Issue Number: 0956053X, 10.1016/j.wasman.2018.10.018

Ilankoon, I. M.S.K.; Tang, Yuan; Ghorbani, Yousef; Northey, Stephen; Yellishetty, Mohan; Deng, Xiangyi; McBride, Diane (2018) The current state and future directions of percolation leaching in the Chinese mining industry: Challenges and opportunities, Minerals Engineering, (206-222), Volume: 125, Issue Number: 08926875, 10.1016/j.mineng.2018.06.006

Fernando, W. Ashane M.; Ilankoon, I. M.S.K.; Chong, Meng Nan; Syed, Tauqir H. (2018) Effects of intermittent liquid addition on heap hydrodynamics, Minerals Engineering, (108-115), Volume: 124, Issue Number: 08926875, 10.1016/j.mineng.2018.05.016

Fernando, W. Ashane M.; Ilankoon, I. M.S.K.; Syed, Tauqir H.; Yellishetty, Mohan (2018) Challenges and opportunities in the removal of sulphate ions in contaminated mine water: A review, Minerals Engineering, (74-90), Volume: 117, Issue Number: 08926875, 10.1016/j.mineng.2017.12.004

Chen, Zhaoxuan; Yang, Jun; Ling, Dan; Liu, Peng; Ilankoon, I. M.Saman K.; Huang, Zibin; Cheng, Zhenmin (2017) Packing Size Effect on the Mean Bubble Diameter in a Fixed Bed under Gas-Liquid Concurrent Upflow, Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, (13490-13496), Volume: 56, Issue Number: 08885885, 10.1021/acs.iecr.7b00123

Ilankoon, I. M.Saman K.; Neethling, Stephen J.; Huang, Zibin; Cheng, Zhenmin (2017) Improved inter-particle flow models for predicting heap leaching hydrodynamics, Minerals Engineering, (108-115), Volume: 111, Issue Number: 08926875, 10.1016/j.mineng.2017.06.004

McBride, D.; Ilankoon, I. M.S.K.; Neethling, S. J.; Gebhardt, J. E.; Cross, M. (2017) Preferential flow behaviour in unsaturated packed beds and heaps: Incorporating into a CFD model, Hydrometallurgy, (402-411), Volume: 171, Issue Number: 0304386X, 10.1016/j.hydromet.2017.06.008

Ilankoon, I. M.S.K.; Neethling, S. J. (2016) Liquid spread mechanisms in packed beds and heaps. the separation of length and time scales due to particle porosity, Minerals Engineering, (130-139), Volume: 86, Issue Number: 08926875, 10.1016/j.mineng.2015.12.010

Ilankoon, I. M.S.K.; Neethling, S. J. (2014) Transient liquid holdup and drainage variations in gravity dominated non-porous and porous packed beds, Chemical Engineering Science, (398-405), Volume: 116, Issue Number: 00092509, 10.1016/j.ces.2014.05.017

Mostaghimi, Peyman; Ilankoon, I. M.Saman K.; Neethling, Stephen J. (2014) Use of mesh adaptivity in simulation of flow in packed beds - A case study, Minerals Engineering, (157-163), Volume: 63, Issue Number: 08926875, 10.1016/j.mineng.2014.04.019

Ilankoon, I. M.S.K.; Neethling, S. J. (2013) The effect of particle porosity on liquid holdup in heap leaching, Minerals Engineering, (73-80), Volume: 45, Issue Number: 08926875, 10.1016/j.mineng.2013.01.016

Ilankoon, I. M.S.K.; Cole, K. E.; Neethling, S. J. (2013) Measuring hydrodynamic dispersion coefficients in unsaturated packed beds: Comparison of PEPT with conventional tracer tests, Chemical Engineering Science, (152-157), Volume: 89, Issue Number: 00092509, 10.1016/j.ces.2012.11.013

Ilankoon, I. M.S.K.; Neethling, S. J. (2012) Hysteresis in unsaturated flow in packed beds and heaps, Minerals Engineering, (1-8), Volume: 35, Issue Number: 08926875, 10.1016/j.mineng.2012.05.007


Ilankoon, I. M.S.K.; Neethling, S. J. (2012) Liquid flow behaviour in unsaturated heaps,heap leaching, hydrometallurgy, modeling, 26th International Mineral Processing Congress, IMPC 2012: Innovative Processing for Sustainable Growth - Conference Proceedings, (2172-2187), https://www.scopus.com/record/display.uri?eid=2-s2.0-84879966918&origin=resultslist

Local grants

  • Understanding flow mechanisms of metal leaching from coarse electronic waste and developing economic flow-sheets for electronic waste based metal extraction, Saman Ilankoon (PI); Meng Nan Chong; Wu Ta Yeong; Latifah Binti Abd Manaf; Poovarasi Balan, Nov 2018-Oct 2021, FRGS, Malaysia, RM130,000
  • Monash-Sunway decarbonization initiative: microalgae farming and native tree planting, Foo Su Chern (PI, School of Science); Saman Ilankoon (Co-Investigator), Aug 2018-Jul 2020, Sustainable Community Grant-2018, Monash University Malaysia, RM250,000
  • Investigation of sustainable and low cost resources recovery techniques from e-waste in developing countries, Saman Ilankoon (PI); Meng Nan Chong; Gamini Herath, Aug 2017-Jul 2019, GA21 (Global Asia in the 21st Century) Multidisciplinary Platform, RM20,000
  • Development of sustainable and economic mine waste based value recovery techniques, Saman Ilankoon (PI); Prof. Murali Sastry (CEO, Monash-IITB Academy); Associate Professor Mohan Yellishetty (Department of Civil Engineering, Monash University), Dec 2018-Nov 2019, Monash University Malaysia Mobility Grant – 2018, RM20,000

International grants

  • Investigation of fluid flow behaviour in trickle bed reactor systems using Electrical Capacitance Tomography (ECT) technique, Saman Ilankoon (PI); Cheng Z.M. (Chinese Collaborator), Jan 2016-Dec 2017, East China University of Science & Technology, RM94,000
  • Investigation of underlying flow mechanisms and reactive transport in artificial soil systems pertaining to mine rehabilitation, Saman Ilankoon (PI); Mohan Yellishetty (Australian Collaborator), Jan 2017-Dec 2017, Faculty of Engineering, Monash University, RM16,700

Current supervision


Ashane Fernando

Novel strategies to minimise liquid flow channelling in packed bed systems pertaining to industrial heap leaching

2016 - Present

Monash University Malaysia

Sandun Dasanayaka

Spatiotemporal migration of seepage-vulnerable fines through granular filters

2016 - Present

Monash University Malaysia

Wen Cai Ng

Development of highly efficient Ag3PO4 photoanodes for effective photoelectrochemical water splitting in an integrated photoactivated fuel cell system


Monash University Malaysia

Local Award/Recognition/Exhibition/Stewardship

  • School of Engineering Teaching Award: Excellence in Education - School of Engineering, Monash University Malaysia, 2018
  • Pro-Vice Chancellor (PVC) Award: Innovations in Teaching - Monash University Malaysia, 2018

International Award/Recognition/Exhibition/Stewardship

  • Andrew Carnegie Award: Research Award - IOM3, London, 2016