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tennessee technological university

Chemical Engineering

University Distinguished Faculty Fellow and Professor
Highest Degree University: Cleveland State University
Department: Chemical Engineering
Prescott Hall (PRSC) 312
PO Box: 5013
(931) 372-3667

More Information


Doctor of Engineering (DRE), Chemical Engineering, Cleveland State University, 1988

B.S., Chemical Engineering, Case Western Reserve University, 1980

Honors and Awards

  • 2012 Leighton E. Sissom Innovation and Creativity Award
  • 2011 Univeristy Distinguished Faculty Fellow
  • 2011 American Ceramic Society (ACerS) Fellow
  • 2009 Caplenor Research Award
  • 2008 TTU Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award
  • 2007 American Concrete Institute ( ACI), Fellow
  • 2007 ACerS (American Ceramic Society) Profiles in Excellence
  • 2006 QEP Award for Innovative Instruction, for integration of laboratory and lecture
  • 2007 TTU College of Engineering Brown-Henderson Award, for outstanding Engineering faculty
  • 2006 ASEE Corcoran Award, best paper, J. J. Biernacki, A Course-level Strategy for Continuous Improvement, Chem. Eng. Ed., 39(3) 186-193 (2005)
  • 2006 ASEE, Southeast Section, Thomas C. Evans Award, best paper, J. J. Biernacki, A Course-level Strategy for Continuous Improvement, Chem. Eng. Ed., 39(3) 186-193 (2005)
  • Annals of Research in Engineering Education, Winter 2006, Vol. 2, No. 1 - J. J. Biernacki, A Course-level Strategy for Continuous Improvement, Chem. Eng. Ed., 39(3) 186-193 (2005)
  • 2005 Dean’s Advisory Board (DAB) Award, Tennessee Tech University
  • 2002-2003 Outstanding Faculty Award for Professional Service
  • 2002 Leighton E. Sissom Innovation and Creativity Award
  • 2002 Kinslow Engineering Research Award

Research Statement

The primary emphasis of my research group is to develop fundamental kinetic and thermophysical data for materials synthesis. Materials in this case are primarily ceramics, but may include composites of ceramics, metals and polymers. While my specific focus changes from project to project, there are several themes: stoichiometry and hydration kinetics of portland cement and supplementary cementitious materials and characterization of the microstructure and transport processes in the same; synthesis kinetics and associated transport processes of ceramic materials; and kinetics of synthesis and degradation of organic materials, particularly at high temperatures, e.g. biomass pyrolysis.

Portland cement concrete is second only to water in use. This ubiquitous construction material is the very foundation of our global infrastructure. This common material has been traditionally composed of naturally occurring fine and course aggregate, Portland cement and water. Concerns over global warming and ever-increasing stockpiles of solid industrial wastes and by-products has energized efforts to develop modern concrete formulations that incorporate more waste and by-products and less portland cement. This has been beneficial from an environmental point of view, but also has the potential for improving the durability and strength of concrete. Yet, there are fundamental questions which remain unanswered and obstacles to widespread adaptation of blended-cement products. Uncertainty in the interaction between waste and by-product additives and portland cement, the stoichiometry of hydration, the chemical stability and transport properties of blended-cement concrete are of critical importance. My cements research group focuses on the kinetics of hydration, the fundamental interactions between waste and by-product materials and portland cement, the stoichiometry of such reactions and resulting microstructure and transport processes. We are applying modern analytical tools including synchrotron X-ray diffraction (XRD) and environmental scanning electron microscopy to study these complex chemical reactions in situ rather than post reaction. Existing models for cement, waste and by-product hydration are largely lumped parameter. Our ambition is to build distributed parameter kinetic models with improved predictability and reliability.


Most Recent

  • O. Chaudhari and J. J. Biernacki, Leaching Behavior of Hazardous Heavy Metals from Lime Fly Ash Cements, J. Env. Eng., (in press: posted ahead of print 2 Aug. 2012).
  • D. M. Kirby and J. J. Biernacki, The Effect of Water-to-Cement Ratio on the Hydration Kinetics of Tricalcium Silicate Cements: Testing the Two-step Hydration Hypothesis, Cem. Concr. Res., 42(8), 1147-1156 (2012).
  • T. Xie, and J. J. Biernacki, Growth of Calcium Hydroxide Islands in Tricalcium Silicate-based Cements at Early Age, J. Am. Cer. Soc, 95(9), 2808-2819 (2012).
  • T. Xie and J. J. Biernacki, The Origins and Evolution of Cement Hydration Models, Comp. Concr., 8(6), 647-675 (2011).
  • Y. Wei, W. Hansen, J. J. Biernacki and E. Schlangen, Unified Shrinkage Model for Concrete from Autogenous Shrinkage Test on Paste with and without GGBFS, ACI Mat. J., 108(1), 13-20 (2011).

Other Select

  • P. Kannan, J. J. Biernacki and D. Visco, Fast Pyrolysis Kinetics of Expanded Polystyrene Foam, AIChE J. (accepted August, 25, 2009).
  • S. E. Mikel, J. J. Biernacki and T. Gnaeupel-Herold, A Neutron Diffraction-Based technique for Determining Phase Resolved Strains in Portland Cement, ACI Mat. J., 106(5), 455-460 (2009).
  • P. Kannan, J. J. Biernacki and D. P. Visco, Kinetics of Thermal Decomposition of Expanded Polystyrene in Different Gaseous Environments, J. Anal. Appl. Pyrol., 84, 139-144 (2009).
  • J. J. Biernacki, with the Faculty and Staff, The Department of Chemical Engineering at Tennessee Technological University, Chem. Eng. Ed., 42(3) 118-124 (Summer, 2008).

Recent Courses Taught


  • CHE 2011 (Fall 2012) - Chemical and Bilogical Engineering Analysis


  • CHE 6210 (Spring 2013) - Advanced Reaction Kinetics
  • CHE/ME 4470/5470 (Fall 2011) - Interdisciplinary Studies in Ceramic Materials Processing