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. Examples of current research themes are hydrocarbon separations using microporous solids, development of novel capillary LC column formats, flow and mass transfer phenomena in HPLC, miniaturization and on-chip chromatography, controlled release of bio-active compounds, high-throughput catalyst screening, …
The department of Chemical Engineering of the VUB has the ambition to stay at the forefront of the research on liquid chromatography and adsorptive separations, and expand its activities into other areas of low-energy cost liquid-phase separation techniques, such as membrane separations and micro-scale extractions. The group largely owes its international reputation to the fact that it has positioned itself as a group developing innovative solutions that bridge the gap between the molecular scale and the micro- to millimeter scale of the packing or housing materials typically used in chemical processes. To capitalize on this successful strategy, the group wants to run a dedicated research program focusing on “Exploiting the Advantages of Order and Confinement for a Greener Chemistry”, as a backbone program to grow into one of Europe’s leading Centers of Expertise in separation science.