Organisation profile

The research in the Department of Chemical Engineering aims at developing creative solutions to challenging problems in the field of separation technology and catalysis by exploiting the new possibilities in materials engineering and nanotechnology. Key to this development process is a thorough understanding of the fundamental events, from the molecular scale to the real life application level. In our group, advanced experimental techniques (microfluidics technology, ultra high pressure instruments, high-throughput experimentation, ...) are combined with state-of-the-art computer modeling methods, including molecular modeling and computational fluid dynamics, to obtain insight in the fundamental adsorption, diffusion, reaction and mass transfer effects. Integration into the traditional engineering methods allows a rational design of improved or innovative applications. The research of the CHIS-department is organized along three tightly linked research themes: Adsorption (G. Baron & J. Denayer) The research entity is active in several areas of chemical, biochemical and environmental engineering. Activities are focused on several aspects of the use of (micro)porous or structured materials in gas and liquid separation both by physical adsorption and chemisorption or heterogeneous chemical reaction. Adsorbent and catalyst material characterization, the study of adsorption and diffusion effects in heterogeneous catalysis and non-conventional reactor design are dominating our activity. In collaboration with industrial and academic partners, fundamental and applied research is performed. Selected research topics are given below. - High throughput experimentation in adsorbent and catalyst research - Studying molecular interactions in nanoconfined systems - Modelling of adsorption, diffusion and catalytic processes: from the molecular level to the chemical plant - Optimization of reaction and separation processes by intelligent design - Use of micro and mesoporous solids for controlled release of bio-active compounds - Separation processes in gas and liquid phase - Advanced reactor systems for environmental applications - Multiscale modelling of adsorption and reaction processes Transport Modelling and Analytical Separation Science (G. Desmet, S. Eeltink) In this research line, the emphasis is on obtaining a better understanding (mainly through computer simulations of the flow and diffusion) of the methods and systems currently used to conduct (bio-)analytical separations, mainly high performance liquid chromatography(HPLC) and Cappilary LC. These insights are also used in combination with the latest advancements in the fields of micro-fabrication and nano-technology to design and develop improved analytical separation devices. - HPLC-Column Technology (monolithic columns, coated capillaries, chip-based columns) - Multi- dimensional separations - New Separation Methods & applications - Flow and Mass Transfer Phenomena in HPLC - The Kinetic Plot Method µFlow (W. De Malsche) Recently, the tight cooperation between the adsorption and the TMAS²-group has lead to the creation of a third research line on microfluidics and microreactor technology. This research line is fed by the vast know-how in micromachining (ranging from sub-micron lithographic etching to micro-precision CNC machining), by the department's extensive know-how in flow modeling (CFD), as well as by the application know-how in the fields of catalysis and separation science of the TMAS²- and the adsorption group. The ability to position very accurately shaped and localized micron-sized structures by precision machining enables novel physical and chemical operations (generally involving mixing and separation). These chip-based concepts are conceived, translated into fabrication schemes and validated. Besides on-chip characterization procedures by means of fluorescence microscopy and other on-chip detection methods, the validation of the prototypes occurs with commercially available characterization equipment. Some currently explored research topics are given below. - Analytical pillar array columns (interaction-based and size exclusion chromatography, field-flow-fractionation, gas chromatography, etc.) - Pillar array columns for ultra-narrow RTD (residence time distribution) reactors: crystallization and production of unstable intermediates - Continuous emulsification and de-mixing devices for multi-phase operations - Emulsified-stratified-segmented flow reactors - Membrane reactors for extraction and reaction rate shifting - New generation mixers and flow distributors

Contact information

Pleinlaan 2
  • Fax: +32-2-6293248
  • Phone: +32-2-6293342

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