• Chemical Engineering and Materials Science

Introduction

The Chemical Engineering and Materials Science Department has a long tradition in the IQS School of Engineering. Five research groups compose the department: Process Engineering, safety and prospection Engineering (EPSP), Surface Laboratory (GEMAT), Vascular Engineering and Applied Biomedicine Group (GEVAB), Group of Engineering and Simulation of Environmental Processes (GESPA) and Formulation Laboratory.

 

Teaching

The department coordinates the undergraduate and graduate programs in Chemical Engineering and Materials Sciences: Undergraduate Programs in Chemical Engineering and Chemical Engineering and Master’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering. It also offers chemical engineering and materials science subjects to the undergraduate programs and master’s degrees of Chemistry and Industrial Engineering.  Additionally, the Department organizes other activities such as Department conferences and specific courses, and exchange activities for students and professors.

 

Research

Research projects are focused in the areas of Chemical Engineering, Materials Sciences, Fine Chemistry processes, environmental engineering, process simulation and applied biomedicine.

Process Engineering, Safety and Prospection Engineering Group (EPSP):

This group is composed by the High Technology Chemical Processes (PQAT) laboratory, the Prospective Technology unit and staff of the Department of Applied Statistics of the IQS Faculty of Economics. The main research of the EPSP group is focused in:

  • Process engineering: Research aimed at improving sustainability and reducing the impact of industrial processes on the environment through new production technologies.
  • Intensification of fine chemistry processes.
  • Simulation techniques and process optimization. Includes the static and dynamic simulation of chemical processes and the CFD techniques applied to various fields, such as, for example, the simulation of parts of a nuclear fusion reactor.
  • Industrial safety: preparation of methodologies for the identification of hazards and risk assessment in industrial processes.
  • Thermal risk in processes: techniques for the evaluation and control of the thermal risk of industrial synthesis processes and the thermal stability of materials.
  • Quantitative risk analysis of industrial facilities.
  • Emerging risks: thermal stability, chemical compatibility and behavior against the oxidation of nanomaterials.
  • Technological prospective: innovative techniques for the definition of future scenarios.
  • Prospective technological studies in industrial sectors.
  • Support tools for the application of the REACH regulation.

GESPA

The research activities in GESPA are in the framework of the environment engineering and the molecular simulation of processes. The group, formed by interdisciplinary scientists who combine chemical engineering, biotechnology and analyses with a theoretical- experimental approach, in order to improve more sustainable processes. The targets are based on finding solutions to new challenges in our society: climate change, lack of water and population growth.

  1. Treatment and water re-using:Development of new processes and sustainable disinfection, advanced oxidation processes (AOP), adsorption, membranes, biofilms, elimination of recalcitrant organic compounds by means of fungi and elimination of nitrogen by means of partial nitrification and Anammox processes.
  2. Mitigation of greenhouse gases impact: Capture, transport, storing and/or CO2 transformation, reduction of N2O emissions in water treatment and fluorinated gases treatment.
  3. Sustainable energy growth: Valorization of biomass, optimization of lignocellulosic biorefinery processes for obtaining second and third biofuel generation and phenolic resins from lignin, and searching for alternative solvents more efficient and environmentally sustainable.

Two key transversal lines complement the previously described research areas:

Molecular modelling and processes: Development and application of equations of advanced state (SAFT) in order to perform the thermophysical characterization of solvents and fluids of interest, Monte Carlo and molecular dynamic simulations, computational fluid dynamics (CDF), simulations of process (Aspen Hysys) and life cycle assessment (LCA).

Analytical Techniques: development of methods for the analytical determination of persistent organic pollutants (dioxins, furans, polychlorinated biphenyls, flame retardants, etc.) and their application to the following-up of degradation processes and the setting-up of levels in environmental and food matrices.

GEVAB

The group focuses its efforts on integrating knowledge of medicine, biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and computing to provide comprehensive solutions to current unmet clinical needs.

The group studies and combats vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis or aneurysms, but at the same time, dedicates very important efforts to understand the interaction between the vessels and the organs that they feed, as in the case of the blood-brain barrier.

The interdisciplinary collaboration among the individuals of the group provides the ideal context to answer fundamental questions in cell biology, applied especially to the vascular environment. The knowledge obtained can be translated quickly into solutions that the medical biotechnology industry (pharmaceutical and medical devices) can incorporate into clinical practice.

FORMULATION LABORATORY

The main research of the Formulation Laboratory is focused in the optimization of processes involved in drug and dermocosmetics syntheses.

  • Synthesis of monolayer / multilayer membranes applied to the characterization of dermocosmetics properties.
  • Optimization of lyophilization procedures for their application in drug synthesis
  • Study of the use of microemulsions in drug development.

 

SURFACE LABORATORY

The Surface Laboratory is part of the GEMAT group. The main research of the Surface Laboratory is focused in Surface Engineering, synthesis of inorganic coatings and surface characterization.  In the last years their research has also been focused in the scalability of the synthesis of Graphene 

  • Development of coatings on ceramic particles
  • Development of inks with conductive and semiconducting properties
  • Thin metallic and ceramic coatings (CVD, PVD, Sol-gel, etc.)
  • Low friction coatings, resistant to wear, corrosion, etc. and modification of electrical, optical, magnetic properties, etc.
  • Destruction of pollutants in gaseous and liquid effluents through light and plasma techniques. Photocatalysis.
  • Ceramic layers on titanium and surgical steels
  • Manufacture and encapsulation of micro and nanoparticles.
  • Synthesis of graphene. High quality crystalline graphene. Scalability of the manufacturing process.