Chemical and Materials Process Engineering

The members of this cluster study inorganic molecular interactions in natural and industrial systems to develop fundamental knowledge and create new efficient processes.

Inorganic processing systems are the lifeblood of our economy. These systems produce the building blocks for industrialized nations. The products include: the metals, alloys, smart materials, ceramics, paper, clean energy, clean water and air, industrial gases, new health products and the chemicals of everyday use. The applications are very broad. Examples in the natural environment include the formation of aerosols and greenhouse gases, and the basic carbon, nitrogen and sulphur cycles. Inorganic processing is found in the extraction and refining of ores, the controlling of wastes and emissions, the production of new materials for the electronics and health industries, and even the protection of infrastructure such as bridges and pipelines.

At the heart of inorganic processing is the control and molecular transformation of inorganic species. Thus knowledge of inorganic chemistry, of chemical properties, of electrolyte solutions, of thermodynamics and kinetics, of unit operations and of system design is critical in this field. Ingenuity is coupled with engineering, basic science and a strong industrial focus to develop new materials, more efficient processes with less environmental impact to take these to commercial use. The focus of this cluster is on the implementation of basic science into a real-life processes involving inorganic materials.

Society is always seeking stronger, lighter, more durable, more recyclable material which can be produced with less energy and less waste. Examples of these materials are the insulating tiles of the space shuttle, the nano-crystalline metals, amorphous metal glasses and atomic cluster catalysts, the high surface area carbon powders, and the nickel and diamond coated ceramics. New resources are brought into play by processes that stretch the limits of material properties such as the acidic, high pressure and temperature leaching of nickel laterite ores in titanium vessels. Acidic gases from industrial processes are captured and converted to liquid sulphur for use in waste water treatment systems. Hydrogen is split from water for use in fuel cells. Energy capturing high temperature kilns convert wastes to useful chemical products for the pulp and paper industry. The field is always advancing and always challenging!

Cluster Members:

ChemEOther departments and organizations
Cluster Leader: V.G. Papangelakis
E.J. Acosta
G. Azimi
T.P. Bender
E. Bobicki
N. DeMartini
L. Diosady
C.Q. Jia
D.W. Kirk
C.A. Mims
R.C. Newman
A. Ramchandran
H.N. Tran
M. Barati (MSE)
S. Thorpe (MSE)
T.A. Utigard (MSE)