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Faculty research involves a broad range of activities that are at the frontiers of chemical engineering fundamentals and have application to relevant industrial problems. The faculty possess a broad range of experience and are routinely in contact with industrial counterparts. This contact enables them to convey a practical experience and perspective on many of the fundamental concepts that are presented in our programs.

Research Areas

Biochemical Engineering

Investigation of nonlinear oscillations in different bioreaction systems, electro-permeabilization of plant cells and tissues, renewable biomass conversion and membrane bioreactors.


Detailed chemical kinetic modeling of cellular signal transduction pathways, reverse-engineering of the adaptive immune response.

Biomedical Engineering

Microvascular fluid dynamics and macromolecular transport in organs and tissues in situ and ex vivo, dust particle-macrophage interactions in cell culture and image analysis.

Carbon Products from Coal

Isotropic and anisotropic graphites, pitch development, pitch reactivity and rheology, carbon foam materials, ultrapure coal derivatives, activated carbons, adsorbents and coal-derived carbon filters.

Catalysis and Reaction Engineering

Autothermal reforming, higher alcohol synthesis, catalytic cracking, dry- and steam-reforming of methane, characterization of molybdenum sulfides and carbides, catalyst design, catalyst development, and coking, poisoning and hydrothermal stability of zeolites.

Fluid Particle Sciences

Wet/dry agglomeration phenomena, particle size and shape characterization, sedimentation, classification, prediction of fine powder flow properties, material science of fine powders, particle coating in fluidized beds, application of fluid bed coatings to pharmaceutical industry. Mechanisms of particle attrition and agglomeration.


Fine powder fluidization, characterization of emulsion phase rheological properties, transient behavior, stability, three-phase fluidization, high temperature fluidization, heat transfer in bubbling beds, and investigation of flow patterns in spouted fluidized beds.

Natural-Gas Hydrates

Mechanisms of formation and inhibition, phase equilibria of hydrates in porous media and of complex mixed hydrates, physical properties, experimental and computational techniques for elucidating and predicting behavior.

Optoelectronic Materials

Investigation of nucleation and growth mechanisms for diamond, silicon carbide, and gallium nitride, development of novel processing techniques, and computational and theoretical modeling of growth processes.

Polymers and Materials Engineering

Extrusion compounding, polymer recycling, suspensions and emulsions, blends and nano-composites, materials characterization, polymer and composite processing.


Coal desulfurization, mineral leaching, mercury removal from coal and phytomining/extraction for metals.

Laboratory Facilities

Engineering Research Building provides modern wet chemical laboratories

Modern research equipment, computational facilities and shared specialized resources are readily available

Graduate and undergraduate computer laboratories

Machine shops

Catalysis Laboratory

Catalyst design associated with synthetic fuels

In Vivo Microscopy Laboratory

Overall Goals of Liver Research Program:

  • To better understand hepato-cellular uptake and bioprocessing of solutes by studying transport mechanisms at the anatomic site where uptake occurs.
  • To provide insight into transport mechanisms that might be useful in developing better methods for liver preservation and transplantation and tissue engineered organ assist devices.
  • To develop a whole-organ model of solute uptake based on microcirculatory measurements made in hepatocytes in the isolated liver and in hepatocyte cultures.

Particle Coating Laboratory

This technology is used widely in the Pharmaceutical, Agricultural and Food Industries to apply cosmetics and functional coatings to a variety of products.

  • Sudsakorn, K., and R. Turton, Non-Uniformity of Coating on a Size Distribution of Particles in a Fluidized Bed Coater, Powder Technology, In Press, 1999
  • Cheng, X.X., and R. Turton, The Prediction of Variability Occurring in Fluidized Bed Coating Equipment Part 1: The Measurement of Particle Circulation Rates in a Bottom Spray Fluidized Bed Coater, accepted for publication to Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, 1999
  • Cheng, X.X., and R. Turton, The Prediction of Variability Occurring in Fluidized Bed Coating Equipment Part 2: The role of non-uniform Particle Coverage as Particles Pass through the Spray Zone, accepted for publication to Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, 1999
  • Walia, P., Stout, P.J., and R.Turton, "Preliminary Evaluation of an Aqueous Wax Emulsion for Controlled Release Coating," Pharmaceutical Development and Technology, 3(1), 103-113, 1998.

Reaction Engineering Laboratory

Reactors associated with synthesis gas, Fischer-Tropsch and reforming reactions

Surface and Materials Studies Laboratory

The goals of the Surface and Materials Studies Laboratory are the development of advanced thin film materials and novel ultrahigh  vacuum synthesis processes as well as the improvement of existing process technologies. The materials of greatest interest are the wide bandgap semiconductors such as diamond, silicon carbide, and gallium nitride because of their numerous electronic and electrooptic applications. Research on these materials accounts for approximately 90 percent of the lab's funding. The lab also provides support for other material related programs at WVU. These include the synthesis of ferric sulfide catalysts for coal liquefaction, chemical vapor deposition of oxidant resistant silicon nitride coatings for silicon carbide fibers, and stress induced failure mechanisms for super alloys. As a service, primarily to industrial clients, the lab occasionally provides surface analyses to aid in failure analysis.

The basic philosophy of the lab is that an understanding of the surface chemistry associated with thin film nucleation and growth is essential to the development of novel synthesis processes and the improvement of existing processes. Consequently, the approach adopted by the lab is highly interdisciplinary and spans the range from basic to applied materials science and engineering.

WVU Research