CBE offers a PhD in chemical engineering. PhD students also have the option of adding a concentration in Energy Science and Engineering.
Students who pursue a PhD program will gain an in-depth education in chemical engineering fundamentals and develop the ability to conceive, conduct, direct, and communicate original research related to a specialized subdiscipline of chemical and biomolecular engineering.
Typically, obtaining a PhD takes four to five years of full-time study for students who enter with a BS degree and about three years for students who enter with an MS degree.
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 the synthesis of functional nanoparticles and thin films.
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.
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.
CBE embraces innovative programs and partnerships in science and engineering with significant technological and societal impact, including Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and Eastman Chemical Company. In addition, we have significant interactions with the Computational Materials Research Group, Institute for Advanced Materials and Manufacturing, Joint Institute for Biological Sciences, and Joint Institute for Computational Sciences.