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Chemical Engineering

Research

Areas of Research

The fields of research in the department identified for Ontario Council of Graduate Studies (OCGS) accreditation are Biochemical Engineering, Polymers and Reaction Engineering, and Process Systems Engineering. Within these broad areas, the department has significant research activity in the following areas:

  • Biochemical Engineering: Biological conversion of biological feedstocks to energy, materials and useful ends (e.g., degradation of pollutants). Feedstocks may be virgin sourced or may be waste material such as agricultural waste. Separation of products is also studied including the use of phase partitioning bioreactors to combine bioreaction and separation. Researchers: Andrew Daugulis, Ron Neufeld, Juliana Ramsay, Bruce Ramsay (Adjunct Professor) and Pascale Champagne (cross-appointed).

  • Environmental Engineering: Biological conversion of pollutants to benign products using fermenters or in situ processing of contaminated soils. Work is also underway examining turbulent dispersion in the environment, primarily for air quality. Researchers: Juliana Ramsay, Bruce Ramsay and Andrew Daugulis.

  • Macro-molecular Processes and Products: Polymer & reaction engineering with a broader title to include biological macro-molecules as well. The department has a particularly strong research concentration in this area, with one of the largest polymer engineering groups in North America and elsewhere internationally. The research expertise spans the entire range of polymer engineering, from polymer reaction chemistry, to polymer reaction engineering, to processing and compounding. Expertise in biopolymers and biomaterials includes hydrogels, scaffold material for tissue regeneration, encapsulation of bioactive materials, polyurethanes for biomedical application and polymer gel dosimetry. Researchers: Brian Amsden, Michael Cunningham, A. Jeffrey Giacomin (CRC Tier I) Robin Hutchinson, Marianna Kontopoulou, Kim McAuley, Scott Parent, Ron Neufeld and Kim Woodhouse
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  • Biomedical Engineering: Tissue engineering including scaffolds for adipose and muscle tissue regeneration, mechanical stimulation to promote regeneration, interaction between surfaces and cells in regeneration, oral delivery of insulin and polymer gel dosimeters. Researchers: Brian Amsden, Lindsay Fitzpatrick, Lauren Flynn (Western University), Ron Neufeld, Laura Wells, Kim Woodhouse and Steve Waldman.

  • Process Systems Engineering: Process control, optimization and applied statistics, including extremum-seeking control, parameter estimation in nonlinear dynamic models, diagnostics for statistical model building and parameter estimation, and systems biology. Researchers: Martin Guay, Tom Harris, Xiang Li, Kim McAuley and Jim McLellan.

  • Fuel Cells: PEM and solid oxide fuel cells, alternative feeds to fuel cells including conversion of agricultural or municipal waste, low platinum electrodes, electrokinetics, control of fuel cell systems and parameter estimation for fuel cell models. Researchers: Dominik Barz, Kunal Karan and Brant Peppley

  • Microfluidics & Biosensors: Electrokinetics: Pathogen and biomarker detection methods, Raman spectroscopy, surface plasmon resonance, on-chip cell manipulation and analysis.  Researchers: Dominik Barz, Aris Docoslis and Carlos Escobedo