Jul 25, 2024  
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog 
2018-2019 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering

Chemical Engineering (MCHE, PhD)

Chemical Engineering

Telephone: (302) 831-2543
Faculty Listing: http://www.che.udel.edu/directory/faculty.html

Program Overview

The Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering offers graduate programs leading to the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and the Master of Chemical Engineering (MCHE) in Chemical Engineering. The Department also offers specialized graduate programs leading to the Master of Engineering (ME) degree in Particle Technology, a Graduate Certificate in Particle Technology, and a 4+1 Bachelor of Chemical Engineering/ME in Particle Technology degree.

The purpose of the Department’s graduate programs is to provide the guidance and opportunity for students to develop the quantitative skills of engineering and science, and the acumen to apply these skills for the welfare of modern society. Students in the program naturally have a broad range of interests and career objectives, and it is the philosophy of the Department to expose them to a variety of fundamental and applied research problems that will hone those engineering skills necessary in any career, whether in industry, academia, or government.

This involves a combination of graduate core courses in chemical engineering and applied mathematics, advanced science and engineering electives, and independent (thesis) research conducted with the guidance and mentorship of a chemical engineering faculty member. (A non-thesis option is also available for the MCHE degree).

The Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Department is housed in Allan P. Colburn Laboratory, a memorial to one of the pioneers in chemical engineering who established the Department. The laboratory houses the Center for Catalytic Science and Technology, which is equipped with the modern tools of catalysis and surface science, and the Center for Molecular and Engineering Thermodynamics, whose personnel study a range of thermodynamic problems. Other laboratory facilities are for research in alternative energy, polymer engineering, rheology, process control, fluid mechanics, biochemical and biomedical engineering, materials science, photovoltaic systems, mass transfer, and separation processes. The Department’s growing emphasis on bioengineering is enhanced by the participation of a number of faculty and students in the Delaware Biotechnology Institute. The Department also benefits from close contacts with industrial colleagues in the Delaware Valley-New Jersey heartland of the chemical process industries. An extensive program of visiting scholars brings distinguished engineering scientists from around the world to the campus for periods ranging from a few days to a year.

Close contact, formal as well as informal, with colleagues in a wide range of industries is one of the distinguishing characteristics of the department. Such contact, with corporate leaders as well as practicing engineers and scientists, helps to provide students with an understanding of the milieu in which the engineer works. Lectures given by these visitors describe the unique opportunities that engineers have to contribute to the quality of life and also the restrictions that society, acting through industry and government, places on technology.

Extensive facilities for research and graduate study are available within the Department. There are laboratories specifically devoted to catalysis, electrocatalysis and reaction engineering house gas chromatographs interfaced with a computer-controlled mass spectrometer, infrared spectrophotometers for surface studies of working catalysts, electron spectrometers for analysis of catalyst surfaces, x-ray diffractometers, transmission, and scanning electron microscopes, a laser-Raman spectrometer, an x-ray spectrometer, gas chemisorption equipment, many catalytic flow microreactors, and hardware/software for computational studies. Many of these studies are carried out in the University’s pioneering Center for Catalytic Science and Technology, supported by governmental funds and grants from a group of industrial sponsors.

Laboratories specifically devoted to polymer engineering are equipped with multiple rheogoniometers and mechanical spectrometers, Instron test equipment, x-ray diffractometers, and equipment for spinning and extruding polymers. The polymer engineering group is involved in the research of Delaware’s Center for Composite Materials and in interdisciplinary activity supported by several industrial organizations of the U.S., France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United Kingdom.

Biochemical and biomedical engineering laboratories contain a range of equipment for cell culture and fermentation, and for protein purification, analysis, and characterization. The latter includes 2-D gel electrophoresis, high performance liquid chromatography, membrane ultrafiltration, atomic force microscopy, and capillary electrophoresis. Research in the biological area is also conducted in collaboration with colleagues in the life sciences, the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Delaware Biotechnology Institute, and laboratories in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

The process control and monitoring laboratories contain a number of real-time instrumented experiments for online model-based control and fault diagnosis. The specific experiments include emulsion polymerization, complex quadruple-tank level control, and other systems. All of these units are equipped with state-of-the-art control hardware and software systems.

The J.A. Gerster Memorial Thermodynamics Laboratories contain equipment for high-pressure and low-pressure vapor-liquid equilibrium, for high-temperature and multiphase equilibrium and other physical property measurements, and for separations processes. Molecular dynamics and quantum mechanical calculations and modeling of simple and complex fluids are performed on the Facility for Computational Chemistry’s parallel computer and at other computational resources at the University as well as at national centers. These and other facilities are part of the Center for Molecular and Engineering Thermodynamics.

Laboratories focused on the study of colloids and interfaces contain a variety of spectrometers for quasi-elastic light scattering, fluorescence measurements, and small-angle x-ray scattering. State-of-the-art instruments are available for the measurement of electrophoretic mobilities of colloids, surface tensions, ion activities, and conductivities, as well as for the determination of liquid phase compositions. Small angle neutron scattering investigations are also performed at national facilities.

Several faculty and students are involved in chemical engineering research in photovoltaics in which information needed for the design of large-scale processing units is obtained from laboratory-scale experimentation, in collaboration with the Institute for Energy Conversion. Experimental and theoretical studies in photovoltaic unit operations are conducted in a cooperative activity between the department and the Institute of Energy Conversion.

One of the most rapidly growing aspects of research within the Department is process modeling. Research efforts include computer control and modeling of biochemical reactors, development, and modeling of novel separations processes, modeling of transport in living systems, modeling and simulation of polymer processes, and elucidation and modeling of reaction pathways. To support the research in chemical engineering analysis, the Department maintains its own computer laboratory. Numerous microcomputers are in use in our research laboratories both for data acquisition and modeling; most recently several BEOWULF clusters of high performance PC computers have been built; the Department also makes extensive use of the University and national computing facilities described elsewhere in this catalog.

Requirements For Admission

The minimum requirements for admission to degree programs in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering are listed below:

  • A baccalaureate degree in the field or in a closely allied field of science or mathematics.
  • An undergraduate grade-point average in engineering, science, and mathematics courses of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.
  • A minimum of three letters of strong support from former teachers or supervisors.
  • A minimum combined score of 311 on the Graduate Record Examination Aptitude Test is required of all applicants to the Chemical Engineering PhD program.
  • The Test of English as a Foreign Language is required for students whose first language is not English and who have not received a degree from a college or university in which English is the sole language of instruction. (Minimum score: 600 paper based TOEFL; 250 computer based TOEFL; 100 IBET TOEFL.)
  • For chemical engineering applicants the scholastic index of 3.0 in the major field is computed from the previous undergraduate work and from graduate work done in mathematics, chemistry, physics, biology, and engineering courses. In exceptional circumstances, it may be possible to obtain provisional admission if one or more of the above criteria has not been satisfied. Admission to the graduate program in Chemical Engineering at the University of Delaware is selective and competitive based on the number of well-qualified applicants and the limits of available faculty and facilities. Those who meet stated minimum academic requirements are not guaranteed admission. On the other hand, on rare occasions, those who fail to meet those requirements can be granted admission if they offer other exceptional strengths.

Undergraduate preparation consisting of a bachelor’s program in chemical engineering leads most directly into the graduate program. However, students and practicing industrialists with a background in chemistry will also profit from this graduate program, since chemical engineering provides for the application of their scientific skills to solutions of technological problems in industry and society. Graduates of other disciplines are also encouraged to apply; some remedial work may be required and is discussed on an individual basis.

Financial Aid

Please refer to Graduate Fellowships and Assistantships  for more information.

Master of Engineering: Particle Technology (MEPT, Graduate Certificate, 4+1 BChE/MEPT)

Telephone: (302) 831-3570
Faculty Listing: http://www.che.udel.edu/directory/faculty.html

Program Overview

The majority of products produced in the chemical process industries either include particles or are made through the agency of particles. Despite the ubiquity of particles and particle processes, undergraduate engineering programs typically fail to address the unique issues introduced by the particle phase. By design, this program provides this important skill set and knowledge base, valued by industry but generally unavailable in one place or with such singular focus.

Particle technology spans multiple length scales and requires knowledge and skills that cut across the boundaries of traditional academic disciplines. Interactions at the molecular length scale result in material properties at the particle length scale which in turn impact performance of processing units or particle-based products at the macroscopic length scale. Training in this field will enable students to communicate and collaborate across the chemical, mechanical, and civil engineering disciplines as well as with chemists, physicists, and materials scientists.

The program is built around the fundamentals of particle process engineering and particle-based product design and engineering. In addition to rigorous and comprehensive course work in rate processes, transport, characterization, separations, and product engineering, the program’s capstone element is an industrial internship enabling the student to exit the program with practical, demonstrated particle technology expertise. 

The program is administered by the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and the courses are taught by Department faculty, including Professors of Practice with many years of industrial experience working in particle technology.

The Master’s degree and the Certificate may be earned on a part-time basis. All MEPT coursework can be completed remotely via distance learning.

Admissions Requirements

Applicants must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college or university. This degree may be in chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, environmental engineering, chemistry, materials science or physics disciplines, if the undergraduate program includes engineering thermodynamics, calculus, differential equations and linear algebra, and transport phenomena (fluid mechanics, heat and mass transport). The following materials are required to be included with the application: recent GRE scores (but subject test not required), three letters of recommendation (at least one from a professor), a resumé outlining academic and work experience, and a statement of purpose. In addition, international applicants must provide evidence of English proficiency (a recent TOEFL or IELTS score) if English is not their first language.

How Do I Apply?

Applications are submitted on-line at http://www.udel.edu/gradoffice/apply/. Applicants may contact us at cheggraduate-admissions@udel.edu for more information.