The Department of Chemical Engineering has three major research efforts:
Research related to energy and environment ranges from electrical energy storage and fuels to transforming waste to value products and renewable energy harvesting. Our electrical energy storage research covers materials development for low-k capacitors, high-valency ions such as aluminum for novel batteries, zinc alkaline batteries, and the characterization and testing of ionic liquid electrolytes for batteries. Research related to fuels ranges from the study of biofuels, gas hydrates, and asphaltenes to multi-phase transport, NMR of multi-phase fuels, and characterization of drilling fluids. With an environmental impact in mind, we investigate ways to convert various wastes such as ash, nuclear waste, and biomass to useful chemicals, safe materials, and fuels. Furthermore, in our research we search for more benign chemistry and processing as well as to impact efficiency of renewable energy harvesting technologies.
Research related to materials and interfaces ranges from materials design and characterization to the study of the interaction of materials with, at and through interfaces. Our materials design research involves the design of novel coatings, functional materials such as surfactants, patchy colloids, nanoscale materials such as metal/metal oxide nanoparticles and quantum dots, and water responsive materials. We use both standard characterization tools and develop new characterization tools for materials ranging from electrochemistry and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to various other spectroscopic and interfacial characterization tools.
Research related to biomolecules and biotechnology ranges from the investigation of biomaterials for biotechnology to disease etiology, diagnosis and treatment. In our research for biomolecules for biotechnology, we investigate peptides, proteins and macromolecular interactions at interfaces and surfaces, water responsive biomaterials for energy actuating, and biomembrane and interface design. Our biotechnology research focuses on microfluidic lab on a chip probes for disease markers with fluorescence detection, theory and experiment for early events in atherosclerosis, study of tumor dormancy and recurrence, and development of new assays for membrane protein drug targets.