Chemical Engineering | Seminars & Events

Seminars are held from 4.00-5.00 pm in Lecture Room 2 of the Thom Building on Tuesday on even weeks of term except as noted.

These are open to all. In the event of any questions, please contact .

Michaelmas Term 2015

  • Week 4, Tuesday February 9th Thom LR2 4 pm
    Bubble Acoustics in Industry and Medicine
    Ronald A. Roy, Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford

    High intensity ultrasound is used to enable and accelerate a number of physical processes relevant to industrial and biomedical processes.  When high-pressure sound waves travel through a liquid medium, they nucleate small gas bubbles that subsequently respond to period acoustic forcing, a process known as acoustic cavitation.  Cavitation bubbles convert acoustical energy to mechanical energy that is highly concentrated in both space and time.  The result is a plethora of mechanical, and thermal effects, ranging from acoustic micro-streaming to extreme conditions at the point of cavity collapse.  All of these effects play a role, to varying degrees, in a broad range of industrial and biomedical procedures involving ultrasound.  In this talk, we present an introductory overview of the relevant bubble physics and the roles – both beneficial and detrimental – played by bubbles and cavitation in industrial and medical acoustics.

Michaelmas Term 2015

  • 3rd November
    Elucidating lithium/oxygen battery performance through discharge experiments and simulations
    Professor Charles Monroe, Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford.
  • 13th October
    Nanomedicine Approaches for Disease Detection and Treatment
    Gang Bao, Department of Bioengineering, Rice University, Houston, TX 77005,  USA

    The integration of biomolecular engineering, nanotechnology and biology is expected to produce major breakthroughs in medical diagnostics and therapeutics.  Due to the size-compatibility of nano-scale structures with proteins and nucleic acids, the design, synthesis and application of nanoprobes, nanocarriers and nanomachines provide unprecedented opportunities for achieving a better control of biological processes, and drastic improvements in disease detection, therapy, and prevention.  Recent advances include the development of multi-functional nanoparticles, nano-structured materials and devices, and engineered nucleases for biological and medical applications.

    In this talk I will present the recent development and application of molecular imaging probes and nanoparticle carriers in my lab, including molecular beacon enabled purification of living cells by targeting cell-type specific mRNAs, nanocrystal–based signal amplification for biomolecule detection, multi-modality PET/MR/fluorescence imaging contrast agent for disease detection, as well as nanoparticle-based strategies for cancer therapy. The opportunities and challenges in nanomedicine are also discussed.
  • 24th November
    Microbubble mediated (bio)processing
    Professor Will Zimmerman, Director of Research in Chemical Engineering & Biological Engineering

    When fluidic oscillator driven, energy efficient micro bubbles were invented in 2005, there were only two classes of industrial processes exploiting microbubbles - bioreactors and flotation separations. We have shown that several processes are enhanced or intensified with micro-bubbles, including liquid mixing, heat and mass transfer, particle separations, evaporation, condensation, distillation, and interfacial reactive distillation. This presentation will show how some of these features are being exploited for applications where no bubbles have been used before, highlighting micro-bubble distillation for ammonia stripping and other purposes.

Michaelmas Term 2014

  • 2nd December
    From Single cell to synthetic biology - exploiting microbial gene resource for industry production
    Professor Wei Huang, Associate Professor, Department of Engineering Science
    • Most microbes in nature are uncultured yet, however, they harbour enormous genes encoded to novel enzymes and bioactive compounds. These genes are huge resource for bioparts discovery and metabolic pathway design in synthetic biology.
    • Circumventing cultivation issue, single cell Raman biotechnology is to sort and process cells based on single cell Raman spectra (SCRS), which provide label-free phenotypic profiles for individual cells. More interestingly, SCRS can be used to classify cells and link cells and their biological functions.
    • The sorted cells can be further processed and characterised by single cell -omics (genomics and transcriptomics).
    • The potential bioparts can be standardised and characterised using SimCells (simple and simulated cells) design.
    • A case study shows that a universal gene cluster for alkane biosynthesis can be engineered into various bacteria for biofuel production.

Hilary Term 2014

  • Week 6: 25th February
    Making food waste digestion a reality
    Professor Charles Banks. Department of Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton.

Michaelmas 2013.

  • Week 2: October 22nd
    Bioenergy - A fresh look at an undervalued global scale resource
    Mike Mason, University of Oxford, Department of Engineering Science and Biojoule Ltd.
  • Week 4: November 5th
    Simulation of Turbulent Combustion
    Kendal Bushe, University of British Columbia, Department of Mechanical Engineering.
  • Week 6: November 19th
    Nanocomposites: tackling pollution with novel materials
    Tom Scott, University of Bristol, Department of Physics.
  • Week 8: December 3rd
    Disinfection By-Products of Potential Health Significance in Your Tap Water: The Known Knowns, Known Unknowns, and Unknown Unknowns
    Mike Templeton, Imperial College London, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering.
        ‘We are all routinely exposed to a range of chemical compounds in our tap water which are unintended by-products of the processes that are used to disinfect drinking water, e.g. chlorination. Some of these chemical compounds have been argued to be linked to certain adverse health outcomes, such as increased risk of bladder cancer, through epidemiological studies.  A small number of these compounds are regulated in the water industry (e.g. trihalomethanes, bromate), meaning that water companies must apply water treatment strategies to limit the concentrations of these compounds in tap water. However, we also now know that there are many more, unregulated disinfection by-products for which we have only sparse occurrence, formation and toxicological information. This presentation will summarise our current state of knowledge on a range of disinfection by-products and the gaps that remain to be addressed.’

Hilary Term 2013

  • Week 1: January 15th
    Engineering biology: between hope and hubris.
    Professor Tom Curtis: Civil Engineering and Geosciences, University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne.
  • Week 8: March 5th - LR1 4 pm
    Fog Harvesting Mesh Structures.
    Robert E. Cohen, St. Laurent Professor of Chemical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
    Abstract: Fog represents a large, untapped source of potable water in certain arid climates. Various plants and animals use geometric as well as chemical features on their surfaces to harvest this precious resource. My research group at MIT has partnered with a team at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile to investigate the influence of surface wettability, length scale of the mesh fibers, and relative openness of the mesh weave on the fog harvesting efficiency of mesh surfaces We introduce two dimensionless geometric groups to facilitate the mechanistic analysis of fog harvesting behavior: i) the ratio of the radius of fog droplets (rfog) to the radius of the mesh wire (R); R*=rfog/R and ii) a spacing ratio D*=(R+D)/R, which reflects the openness of the weave. We develop a combined hydrodynamic and surface wettability model to predict the overall fog collection efficiency ?(R*,D*) of the meshes and cast the findings in the form of a design chart. Our analysis suggests that appropriate tuning of the wetting characteristics of the surfaces, reducing the wire radii, and optimizing the wire spacing should result in more efficient fog collection. To test these ideas we use a family of coated meshes with a directed stream of fog droplets to simulate a natural foggy environment. Early results demonstrate a five-fold enhancement in the measured fog-collecting efficiency of a conventional polyolefin mesh.