Manolis M. Tomadakis, Ph.D., Head
Undergraduate Minor Program
Manolis M. Tomadakis, Ph.D., analytical and numerical studies of transport, reaction and nuclear magnetic resonance in porous, composite and biological media; materials characterization through computer simulations.
James R. Brenner, Ph.D., self-assembly or aggregation of nanomaterials; 3D printing of biological scaffolding, solid rocket fuel and metals; combined cyclic fatigue and cryogenic embrittlement under controlled atmospheres.
Paul A. Jennings, Ph.D., P.E., biological reactor engineering, membrane separations, alternative energy.
Jonathan E. Whitlow, Ph.D., P.E., multivariable process control, adaptive control, process modeling and simulation, renewable energy conversion systems.
Vipuil Kishore, Ph.D., development of biologically inspired materials, tissue engineering, regenerative medicine and stem cell therapy.
Maria E. Pozo de Fernandez, Ph.D., diffusion in polymers, properties of polymer systems, thermodynamics, fluid phase equilibria at high pressures, supercritical fluids.
In support of the mission of the university, the Department of Chemical Engineering provides undergraduate and graduate curricula that offer students the opportunity to obtain the knowledge and skills required to enter the chemical engineering profession; an atmosphere that stimulates intellectual curiosity and encourages creative interaction between students and faculty; opportunities for students and faculty to engage in research and other activities to obtain knowledge and skills beyond those obtained in traditional coursework; opportunities for students and faculty to interact with and serve the local community; and continuing educational opportunities for alumni and members of the community beyond the limitations of traditional on-campus coursework.
Areas of Emphasis
A wide variety of career paths are open to chemical engineering graduates. Many students, however, are interested in a specific area of chemical engineering and choose electives related to that area. The department office maintains lists of electives appropriate for students interested in biochemical engineering, biomedical engineering, environmental engineering, materials science and engineering, nuclear technology and business.
Five-Year Master’s Degree Program
More than one-third of all chemical engineering graduates choose to continue their education beyond the bachelor’s degree. A program has been developed within the department that allows students to complete a master’s degree in one calendar year following completion of requirements for the bachelor’s degree. The program includes the opportunity to work with a departmental faculty member on an undergraduate research project that may be expanded into a master’s thesis topic. To qualify, students must have earned a GPA of 3.0 or above following their junior year. Additional information concerning the program may be obtained by contacting the department head.
Current research activities are within the scope of the areas of specialization previously stated.
Environmental engineering: Projects include removal of trace organic contaminants from water using reverse osmosis and design of systems for controlling contaminants in spacecraft atmospheres. Other projects focus on development of renewable resources, especially alternative sources of energy.
Materials synthesis, characterization and failure prevention: Includes self-assembly or aggregation of nanomaterials and combined cyclic fatigue and cryogenic embrittlement under controlled atmospheres.
Transport and separation processes: Current projects include development of computer simulation algorithms for estimating transport, reaction and nuclear magnetic resonance parameters of porous, composite and biological media including fuel cell gas diffusion media. Other recent projects have investigated membrane separation of gases, extraction of lipids from microalgae, the use of supercritical fluids for extraction of citrus oils and modeling transport and reaction in polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells.
Computer-aided modeling, processing and control: Research is ongoing in the area of adaptive control for both single loop and multivariable applications. Other topics of research interest include using neural networks in areas of model development in which traditional models are constrained, and process design and simulation of renewable energy conversion systems.
Bioengineering: Research projects include development and characterization of biologically inspired materials; fabrication of scaffolds for corneal, bone and vascular tissue engineering applications; and stem cell bioengineering. Other projects include design and development of perfusion bioreactor culture systems for stem cell proliferation and in vitro large-scale production of platelets.
Energy and sustainability: The scope of current investigation includes novel materials for electrocatalytic hydrogen production, carbon dioxide conversion to useful chemicals, and secondary batteries (fuel cell and lithium ion). Other areas of research study focus on synthesis and detection of improvised explosive devices and nitroaromatic explosives.