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Laurence Weatherley

Laurence Weatherley

Spahr Professor and Chair of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering

4132B Learned Hall 1530 W 15th St
Lawrence, KS 66045
Phone: (785) 864-3553
Fax: (785) 864-4967


  • Chartered Engineer (United Kingdom)
  • Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers (London)
  • Fellow of the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand
  • Associate Editor of The Chemical Engineering Journal


  • BSc (1st Class Honors), Chemical Engineering, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom, 1970
  • PhD, Chemical Engineering, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, 1974

Research Interests


Liquid-liquid Systems and Intensification

These research projects are concerned with the scale-up of intensive liquid extraction processes, focusing on fundamentals of drop motion behavior (as discrete drops and in swarms), modeling of mixing and mass transfer in liquid-liquid contactors; fundamentals of electrically charged drop motion in liquid-liquid systems; interfacial mass transfer, equilibria and drop behavior in biological product extraction systems; Spinning disk techniques for intensive liquid-liquid and gas liquid contact.

Enzymatic Catalysis

This research focuses on the process intensification of enzymatic biotransformation processes in two phase liquid systems and associated downstream separations. Applications include enzymatic modification of natural oils and fats via the production of fatty acids by hydrolysis. This approach is especially of potential value for splitting of sensitive triglycerides, unconjugated systems (which may undergo thermal degradation), hydroxylated fats and oils or polyunsaturated oils.

Ionic Liquid Solvents

Ionic liquid solvents; synthesis, physical property measurement, partition, spraying behavior and applications; new techniques and solvents for extractive whole cell biocatalysis using ionic liquids, toxicology studies; fundamentals of mass transfer and fluid dynamics in liquid-liquid systems involving ionic liquids for separations and for reaction; development of novel reactors and contactors for intensification of liquid-liquid and gas-liquid systems involving ionic liquids.

Ion-exchange and Adsorption

This research focuses on ion-exchange kinetics & equilibria in synthetic and natural ion- exchangers and on simultaneous ion-exchange and bioregeneration in zeolitic ion exchangers. Of special interest is the intensification of the supply of oxygen to aerobic microorganisms adsorption and bioadsorption processes for waste water treatment and potable water pre-treatment, development of combined physical and biological separation processes, and the development of new adsorbents and exchangers based on natural materials.