CPE Research Mission Statement
Our research mission is to foster research of the highest scientific quality in our identified areas of strength. Key measures include peer-reviewed publications (international journal papers, books, patents, and refereed conference proceedings), success in attracting peer reviewed research funding, the successful completion of PhD degrees, and the attraction of high quality graduate students, visiting researchers and distinguished scholars from the US and overseas. Our research is a key underpinning feature of our undergraduate and graduate teaching. We aim to promote the application of our research to advance the competitive position of Kansas and the wider US economy.
Department Research Strengths
Kinetics and Catalysis
The group has developed an international reputation through its research in the areas of both heterogenous and homogeneous catalysis culminating in the establishment of the NSF funded CEBC in 2003. The foci of the center include clean solvents and reaction media, biocatatalysis, and solid acid catalysis. Specific interests are as follows: Catalysis and reaction engineering for fine chemical synthesis (Susan Williams, Karen Norheden), Reactions in supercritical fluids, environmentally-benign catalytic processing (Bala Subramaniam: (CEBC)) Reactions in ionic liquids (Aaron Scurto), Catalysis and nanoparticle design (Javier Guzman), Biocatalysis and separations (Aaron Scurto, Laurence Weatherley).
Bioengineering / Pharmaceuticals
The Department has substantial research strength in study of biological products and materials, some of which very effectively overlap with biomedical and pharmaceutical research. Much of this work is through interdisciplinary collaboration with colleagues in the Medical School, the Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Mechanical Engineering and through the CEBC. Specific interests are as follows: Design of microparticles for drug delivery applications (Cory Berkland), Tissue engineering (Michael Detamore), Hydrogels and protein polymers (Stevin Gehrke), Bioremediation of oil field wastes (Russ Ostermann), Drug transport and bioavailability enhancement (Marylee Southard), Bio-separations and bioprocessing, intensification (Laurence Weatherley), molecular simulation and design (Kyle Camarda)
Oil Recovery and CO2 Sequestration
The Tertiary Oil Recovery Project (TORP) is located in the Department and is directed by two CPE faculty (Don Green and Paul Willhite). TORP represents a strategically important cornerstone of our petroleum engineering research effort. The project attracts a significant proportion of our graduate student cohort both at MS and PhD levels. The main research thrusts include: In Situ Combustion, Surfactant Flooding, Polymer Flooding, Gelled Polymer Technology, CO2 Miscible Flooding, Computer Modeling; Using Biosurfactants from agricultural waste streams for enhanced oil recovery(Jenn-Tai Liang); Modelling wax deposition in Alaska North Slope oil wells(Jenn-Tai Liang). Specific research interests include: Water Shutoff and Conformance Control, CO2 Sequestration in Geologic Formations, Enhanced Coalbed Methane Recovery (Jenn-Tai Liang), Oil and Gas Reservoir Simulation (Shapour Vossoughi).
(Trung Van Nguyen) Two-Phase Flow Phenomena in PEM Fuel Cells: Modeling and Diagnosis; Effects of Physical and Wetting Properties of the Gas Diffusion Materials, Microporous Hydrophobic Layers, Flow Field Designs; Interfacial Phenomena at the Catalyst/Membrane and Membrane/Membrane Interfaces; Conductive or Current Sensing AFM; Effect of Membrane Pre-Treatment and Post-Treatment Processes; Effect of Impurities; Heat, Gas and Water Management Strategies in PEM Fuel Cells ; Optimize the Microstructure of the Catalyst Layers in PEM Fuel Cells for Two-Phase Flow; Develop Membrane and Electrode Assemblies for PEM Fuel Cells for Specific Applications; High Power Applications with Forced Air Flow ; Low Power, Portable Applications with Natural Convection.
Graduate CoursesThe research programs in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering is underpinned by a program of specialised post-graduate course which provide direct support for our post-graduate researchers. These aim to provide skills above and beyond those obtained in an undergraduate program and are targeted in the priority research areas defined above.