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Chemical Engineering at Virginia Tech

Department of Chemical Engineering

Goodwin Hall -
The new home of VT Chemical Engineering.

Goodwin Hall

Department of Chemical Engineering

Donald G. Baird reappointed Alexander F. Giacco Professor of Chemical Engineering

Don Baird

BLACKSBURG, Va., April 1, 2015 - Donald G. Baird, professor of chemical engineering in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, has been named the Alexander F. Giacco Professor of Chemical Engineering by the Virginia Tech Board of Visitors.

The Alexander F. Giacco professorship is funded through the Alexander F. Giacco Endowed Presidential Chair Fund, which was initiated by a donation from Hercules Inc. to honor the many contributions to business and education by Alexander F. Giacco, former president of Hercules and a 1942 alumnus of Virginia Tech’s Department of Chemical Engineering.

Read full story here.

Department of Chemical Engineering

Dr. Karim receives the 2015 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award

Ayman Karim

Ayman Karim, Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering has been selected to receive the 2015 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award, which recognizes outstanding new faculty based on their research, experience and academic leadership. Karim was recognized for his research on understanding the mechanisms of colloidal nanoparticles synthesis by combining microfluidics and in situ x-ray scattering and spectroscopy.

The 3M Non-Tenured Faculty Award was created over twenty-five years ago by 3M's Technical Community in partnership with 3Mgives's Giving Program to invest in outstanding young faculty. The purpose of the renewable award is to help the awardee achieve tenure while remaining in a teaching position and conducting research.

Department of Chemical Engineering

Graduate School selects Orbach as Outstanding Doctoral Student

Sophia Orbach

The office of the Vice President and Dean for Graduate Education has announced that Sophia M. Orbach, a graduate student in Chemical Engineering and a member of the Computational Tissue Engineering interdisciplinary graduate program, has been chosen by the Graduate School as the 2015 Outstanding Interdisciplinary Doctoral Student at Virginia Tech. The goal of her research is to use a 3D multicellular liver culture and transcriptomic analysis (RNA-seq) to develop a model for predicting hepatotoxicity (chemical-driven liver damage) in humans. She is co-advised by Prof. Padma Rajagopalan in Chemical Engineering and Prof. Marion Ehrich in the Department of Biomedical Sciences & Pathobiology in the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine.

Congratulations Sophia!

Department of Chemical Engineering

Karim and Coworkers Featured in Journal of Catalysis

Ayman Karim

A recent paper published in the Journal of Catalysis by Professor Ayman Karim and coworkers has been chosen by the editors as a Featured Article for February 2015. This recognition is given for articles deemed "worthy of extra attention, be it for the quality of the research, the clarity of the exposition or the novelty of the findings." The paper describes the role of rhenium in enhancing the activity of Pt-Re catalysts in the steam reforming of glycerol to produce syngas or hydrogen using a combination of advanced in-situ characterization techniques. Glycerol is an abundant by-product from the biodiesel industry and is also a model molecule to study the conversion of biomass derived sugars.

Karim’s collaborators include Zhehao Wei and Yan Li from the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering at Washington State University, David King of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Yong Wang who serves in a joint position between WSU and PNNL.

Department of Chemical Engineering

Kiran Recognized at the Virginia Tech Authors Day

Erdogan Kiran

Professor Erdogan Kiran was recognized at the Virginia Tech Authors Day on February 24, 2015 for books he has been editing as the Series Editor of the Elsevier Book Series on Supercritical Fluid Science and Technology. These are advanced monographs that provide pedagogical treatments of significant application areas of supercritical fluid science and technology in which Professor Kiran is a world recognized leader.

The following volumes were published in 2014:

Volume 5: Hydrothermal and Supercritical Water Processes (G. Brunner)
Volume 6: Particle Formation with Supercritical Fluids. Challenges and Limitations (M. Türk)

Department of Chemical Engineering

S. Ted Oyama Wins ACS Awards

S. Ted Oyama

The American Chemical Society Division of Energy & Fuels selected Professor S.Ted Oyama as recipient of both the 2014 Distinguished Researcher Award and the 2014 Storch Award. Professor Oyama holds a dual position as Professor of the Chemical Systems Engineering Department at the University of Tokyo and the Chemical Engineering Department at Virginia Tech. For the 2014 Distinguished Researcher Award, Professor Oyama is recognized for his substantial contributions to the field of heterogeneous catalysis, in particular in the hydrodesulfurization and hydrodenitrogenation of petroleum and coal-derived feedstocks. For the Storch Award, he is recognized for his broad contributions to the field of fuel science. This has included work on catalytic hydrogen production by reforming, selective oxidation of hydrocarbons, biomass conversion, and studies of inorganic membranes for gas separations.

Department of Chemical Engineering: ChE-car

Chem-E-Car team wins video award, finishes 4th in vehicle competition

ChE Car Team, 2015

Complete article

Department of Chemical Engineering

AIChE Student Chapter Receives National Recognition

AIChE President Shashwat Sinha accepts the award from Dr. Clifford Henderson, Chair of the AIChE Student Chapters Committee (left).
AIChE officers (right).

We are pleased to announce that the Virginia Tech student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) has received an Outstanding Student Chapter Award for 2013-2014. This recognition is reserved for only 15 of the 208 student chapters from around the world. Shashwat Sinha, student chapter president, and Y. A. Liu, faculty advisor, received the award during the student conference portion of the AIChE annual meeting in Atlanta on November 16.

Department of Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineering Students Win Two National Competitions for Safety in Process Design

Three Virginia Tech chemical engineering seniors from the class of 2014, Pratyush Agarwal, Brent Bostwick and Chris Brockman, have won two national competitions for safety in process design sponsored by the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. The student group participated in the 2014 AIChE national student design competition to develop an inherently safe process for the manufacture of the next generation of influenza vaccines. The group won the Safety and Chemical Engineering Education (SAChE) Jack Wehman Design Award for Safety in Design, and the Safety and Health Division Award for Inherently Safer Design. This is the first time that a single university team has captured both top awards in safety in process design sponsored by the national chemical engineering professional society, and the fourth time since 2006 that Virginia Tech student teams have won top national competitions for safety in process design. The awards were presented at the AIChE annual conference in Atlanta on November 16th.

Professor Y. A. Liu, who taught these students their senior design courses in chemical engineering, credits this success to the hard work and intelligence of the students, and to the strong support by Mr. Bill Barnett, General Manager of the BAE Systems, Radford, Virginia, which has an experienced process safety team and gives annual guest lectures on process safety to Virginia Tech chemical engineering seniors. Congratulating the Virginia Tech student team on their success, Mr. Barnett reaffirms BAE Systems’ strong commitment to supporting chemical engineering education at Virginia Tech through safety training and student projects.

Department of Chemical Engineering

Work of ChE Faculty and Graduate Student Highlighted in latest Engineering Now

Engineering Now

The 2014 issue of Engineering Now, published by the VT College of Engineering, highlights research conducted under the auspices of the Institute for Critical Technology and Applied Science (ICTAS) is highlighted. Included in the latest issue is a description of the work of ChE Associate Professor Padma Rajagopalan and ChE PhD student Lucas Vu. Their work on designing 3-D multi-cellular liver models to understand the complex signaling pathways between liver cells is conducted within the ICTAS Center for Systems Biology for Engineered Tissues, for which Rajagopalan serves as Director.
Read the full issue of Engineering Now here.

Department of Chemical Engineering

Lab on a Chip features a recent paper by collaboration of Chang Lu and Luke Achenie

Chang Lu

A recent paper generated by collaboration between Dr. Chang Lu and Dr. Luke Achenie is featured on the front cover of Issue 16 of the journal Lab on a Chip (impact factor 5.697). In this work, the team describes an unique approach for conducting polymer chain reaction (PCR) on a microfluidic platform by changing the solution based on diffusion. This scheme dramatically simplifies the device design by conducting all the steps of DNA amplification starting from cell samples in the same chamber without interference among various reagents. Given the fundamental importance of PCR for nucleic acid analysis, this approach may offer universal applicability for microfluidic bioanalysis. The first author of the paper, Sai Ma, is a third year graduate student in Lu group. The research was supported by ICTAS Nanobio thrust and several NSF and NIH grants.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Virginia Tech Department of Chemical Engineering is to educate students to become outstanding chemical engineers who possess all of the skills necessary to excel in an advanced, global society; to conduct innovative and beneficial research while training students to be the researchers of the future; and to provide service and expertise to the chemical engineering profession and society.

Chemical Engineering Program Outcomes and Objectives

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