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Research Overview

Chemical engineering education is at the threshold of significant changes, which have been brought about by recent advances in the life sciences, nanotechnology, and the energy challenge. As a result, we have targeted three fundamental research areas for emphasis in the next five years: Advanced Materials, Biomolecular Engineering, and Sustainable Energy.

View these research thrusts and the associated faculty in a schematic diagram.

Research Areas

Advanced Materials

A highly integrated experimental and multiscale modeling/simulation approach is utilized to engineer a broad range of materials with a desired micro- or nano-structure. Specific areas of interest include dynamics of complex fluids, such as polymeric and biological fluids, fiber suspensions, colloidal systems, as well as synthesis of functional nanoparticles and thin films. Learn more about advanced materials research.

Research Thrusts

Biomolecular Engineering

Areas of research in biomolecular engineering include protein engineering to manipulate surface displayed proteins for elucidating molecular recognition in the immune response; experimental engineering of photosynthetic systems to biologically produce hydrogen; and experimental and computational analysis of cell biological phenomena. Learn more about biomolecular engineering research.

Research Thrusts

Sustainable Energy

Sustainable energy has five highly interrelated research areas including fuel cells, flow batteries, photovoltaic materials, catalysis, biocatalysis, and bio-fuels. Some current research projects include inorganic and hybrid polymeric/biological photovoltaic materials; polyelectrolyte membrane hydrogen fuel cells; hydrogen generation via water splitting; advanced battery design; metabolic engineering for biofuel production; and catalytic CO2 reduction to fuels. Learn more about sustainable energy research.

Research Thrusts

Research Partners

In order to meet global challenges in health care, the environment, renewable energy sources, national security, and economic prosperity, the department has instituted innovative partnerships with Oak Ridge National Laboratory; local industry; and other disciplines at UT, such as medical, life, physical sciences, and business. Check out a full list of our partners.

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Are You Seeking Research Opportunities?

Students can check out our faculty’s research interests to find a professor that specializes in your research interests. Email the faculty member(s) that you would like to do research for. Attach a resume that includes your current GPA. If you don’t hear back from them within a week, feel free to stop by their office.