Research

The SDSM&T CBE faculty are active in several areas of research, summarized below. Click on any category title for more information.  Names of participating faculty showed below.

Bio- and Renewable Energy and Fuels

Bio- and Renewable Energy and Fuels —
Our world is continually in need of energy and fuels to power our ever-growing population and infrastructure. Given supply concerns with conventional fossil fuels, the development of sustainable and renewable energy (bio-based, solar, etc.) is crucial. Department research in this area focuses on new applications of chemical reaction engineering, chemical engineering separations, novel solvents and solvent mixtures, and materials development.

Bang, Benjamin, Dixon, Gilcrease, Groven, Menkhaus, Puszynski, Sani, Shende, Winter

Biomaterials

Biomaterials —
The complete vision of a bio-processing plant involves the conversion of renewable biomass sources into not only energy and fuels, but value-added chemicals and products, too.  Chief among these value-added products are materials, such as polymers, for ultimate use in mechanical and structural applications.

Salem, Sani, Winter

Bioprocessing and Biochemical Engineering

Bioprocessing and Biochemical Engineering —
Historically, chemical engineers are trained to design and optimize chemical processes – ones which chemically transform one or more raw materials into one or more valuable end-products. With this process-based perspective, chemical engineers are well-suited to address biological processes as well – processes involving biological agents and biological transformations and operations. Research in the department focuses on the bioprocessing of biomass into renewable energy, fuels, and value-added chemicals and materials, as well as bio-chemical reaction engineering and bio-based separations, with emphasis on energy and pharmaceutical applications.

Bang, Gilcrease, Menkhaus, Sani

Catalysis and Reaction Engineering

Catalysis and Reaction Engineering —
Whether developing new catalytic or energetic materials, designing bio-reactors, or characterizing reaction mechanisms, catalysis and reaction engineering are central to the activities of chemical engineers, and process and product development. Department research in this area contributes to renewable energy, novel materials synthesis, biochemical engineering and nanotechnology, and involves both experimental and computational investigations.

Benjamin, Gilcrease, Groven, Puszynski, Shende

Computer Simulation and Modeling

Computer Simulation and Modeling —
In addition to experimentation, computer simulation and modeling are crucial components in research. Activity in the department involves applications of finite element modeling of transport phenomena (coupled fluid/mass transfer, coupled heat transfer with chemical reaction) as well as molecular modeling and simulation investigations of materials (polymers, fluids), combustion, and catalysis.

Benjamin, Hadley, Puszynski

Environmental and Remediation

Environmental and Remediation —
The skills chemical engineers possess not only equip them to design new chemical and biological processes for commercial production, but also to design and engineer systems to aid the environment. Research activity within the department is focused on the removal of pollutants (such as arsenic or uranium) from groundwater and soil, and involves the use of chemical engineering separations and applied microbiology.

Dixon, Gilcrease, Sani

Molecular Biology and Biotechnology

Molecular Biology and Biotechnology —
Developing viable solutions for the improved production of bio-energy, bio-fuels, bio-chemicals, and bio–products requires research at the interface of molecular biology, microbiology, and chemical engineering. Current department research efforts are focused on the use of extremophiles to facilitate bio-chemical conversion of biomass into hydrogen, fuels, and bio-materials, and is aided by the Sandford Underground Research Facility.

Bang, Sani

Nanotechnology

Nanotechnology —
Nano-scaled materials offer numerous application possibilities, and several advantages over their traditional macro-scale counterparts. Department research focuses on the use of nano-catalysts for water splitting and fuel chemistries, the synthesis of nano-energetic materials, and the synthesis and characterization of nano-composites for materials applications.

Groven, Puszynski, Salem, Shende, Winter

Polymers

Polymers —
As materials, polymers have a wide range of potential uses, in technologies and industries such as space and aerospace, automotive, energy, and environmental. Department research focuses on the development, characterization, and testing of polymers and polymer nanocomposites for these various systems and applications, and is facilitated by the Center for Advanced Polymer Engineering and the Composite and Nanocomposite Advanced Manufacturing Center.

Dixon, Hadley, Salem, Winter

Separations

Separations —
Chemical and physical separations are indispensable as part of a chemical engineering process. The ability to selectively remove/separate a desired product/molecule from one or more undesired products or constituent molecules is a crucial step in several industries, including biochemical, energy, environmental, and pharmaceutical technologies.

Dixon, Menkhaus

Thermodynamics

Thermodynamics —
Thermodynamics is the study of the equilibrium behavior of matter, and includes determining the properties of solids, liquids, and gases, their mixtures, and their application in chemical engineering processes. Department research focuses on the thermodynamics of polymers, environmental systems, supercritical fluids, and ionic liquids, and involves both experimental and computational investigations.

Benjamin, Dixon, Hadley