Research Opportunities

Chemical Engineering Research

The Department of Chemical Engineering at Tennessee Technological University (TTU) offers a world of outstanding opportunities in cutting-edge research projects for students interested in becoming well balanced researchers and innovators of the future technology needed to address our global and societal needs. Faculty interests and backgrounds applied within the context of the Grand Challenges set by the USA National Academy of Engineering together bring an exciting combination of opportunities for graduate level work. With an increasing focus on Biotechnology (e.g., Protein Engineering, Environmental Proteomics, Cancer Research, Biomolecular Medicine, and Bio-Separations), the research thrusts within the Department include the following independent but complementary areas:

  • Electric Field-based Processes and Systems
  • Nanoscale-based Engineered Materials and Systems
  • Biological-based Processes and Systems
  • Computational Mathematics and Modeling
  • Engineering Education

Details about these research areas can be found in the faculty pages or by contacting the faculty directly. Importantly, these areas are in-line with the recently announced college-wide strategic research thrust areas, most notably in Advanced Manufacturing, Energy Storage and Conversion, and Nanoparticles and Proteomics in the Environment. For students interested in Engineering Education, the Department also offers outstanding opportunities to be involved in topics that should be beneficial for a future academic career. These are conducted in close collaboration with the Department of Curriculum and Instruction atTennessee Tech and with the Peabody College of Education from Vanderbilt University.

With an increasing emphasis on Doctoral Research, the Department offers both an MS in Chemical Engineering and a PhD Degree. The Engineering Doctoral program atTennessee Tech is unique, offering an interdisciplinary environment where students choose emphasis areas such as chemical engineering to address problems and issues that cut across all of the engineering disciplines as well as others. This characteristic makes the degree highly useful within changing markets where there is an increasing need for interdisciplinary work. Graduates of this program have been highly successful in finding exciting opportunities in leading technological companies and have won very prestigious awards from the National Science Foundation and from the American Institute of Chemical Engineering, AIChE, just to name a couple.

Our efforts are closely conducted in collaboration with researchers from the three Centers of Excellence atTennessee Tech (the Center for Manufacturing Research, the Center for Energy Systems Research, and the Center for the Management, Utilization, and Protection of Water Resources) as well as the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and universities such as Michigan, Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), Akron, Oklahoma State, South Carolina, Vanderbilt, and Florida State, among others. The Department also has collaborations with international centers and universities including Catolica del Norte (Chile), Arturo Prat (Chile), and Universidad Technologica of Sao Paulo (Brazil).

More information is available at the following links:

Order forms for current research students can be found here: Order Request

Undergraduate Research

In addition to a vibrant, graduate-level research program, we offer many opportunities for undergraduate research. Such recent topics include micro devices, materials fabrication, fuel cells and molecular-level design, among others. Students have the opportunity to present their work at regional and national conferences as well as become co-authors in refereed journal publications. Performing undergraduate research is one of the most successful roads to graduate school for an M.S. or a Ph.D. A number of our recent B.S. graduates have continued their graduate studies at Tech, while others have entered graduate programs at universities including Georgia Tech and MIT.

Freshman students can participate in research, if interested, but will receive no formal credit. However, it is a great way to become introduced to a research group and to help decide if research is for you.

For other levels (So/Jr/Sr), you will start out in ChE 3990, which is a one-credit hour Introduction to Research. If you have a successful semester, you can take a two-credit hour ChE 4990, which is called Undergraduate Research. Those classes combine to give you three-hours of a ChE Technical Elective towards your curriculum.

If interested in research, a student should visit the ChE faculty web site and view the display boards outside faculty offices to decide which faculty member(s) have projects that are of most interest to the student. The next step is for the student to set up a meeting with the faculty member to discuss any potential opportunity in more detail.

Centers of Excellence

In 1984 the state of Tennessee created various "Centers of Excellence" through a state-wide competitive process. Of the 26 current Centers of Excellence around the state, three are housed at Tennessee Tech. The Department of Chemical Engineering has research projects administered through each of the three Centers. For more information about the Centers of Excellence on the Tennessee Tech campus, visit the websites below:

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