Chemical research and technology is an interdisciplinary branch of science and engineering. It encompasses all of the following fields:
Chemical Engineering: Chemical engineering is an interdisciplinary field, drawing on concepts from chemical physics, physical chemistry, and mechanical engineering to produce a range of industrial processes for producing chemicals.
Chemistry: Chemistry is one of the oldest sciences still in existence today. Chemistry is concerned with the interactions between atoms and the changes that occur in materials as a result.
Chemistry can be divided into several subfields:
Physical Chemistry: It deals with the physical properties of chemical substances and chemical reactions and deals with how molecular phenomena govern these. Physical chemistry is also concerned with phase transitions (including critical phenomena), thermodynamics, chemical equilibria, solids, liquids, gases, and spectroscopy structures.
Molecular Science: Molecular science studies chemistry at the atomic and molecular levels. This includes quantum chemistry, spectroscopy, polymer science, bio-molecules, and chemical kinetics.
Polymer Science is a branch of material science that studies large molecules known as polymers. Polymers are large molecules formed by linking many smaller molecules together in a very precise manner. They can be used for making one of the following: plastics, fibers, or elastomers.
Physical Chemistry: It deals with the physical properties of chemical substances and chemical reactions and deals with how molecular phenomena govern these. Physical chemistry is also concerned with phase transitions (including critical phenomena), thermodynamics, chemical equilibria, the structures of solids, liquids, and gases, and spectroscopy.
The Chemical Engineering Design Division looks at ways of solving technical problems related to wastewater treatment in a sustainable manner. These solutions could be applied to both industry and households.
The Chemical Engineering Design Division’s research focuses in the areas of the following:
Water Reuse: Research on water reuse focuses on micro-filters applications. The water they use is a high salinity brine, which can be reused. These filters are applied to industrial plants that use effluent for cooling purposes. Effluent represents more than 80 percent of the industrial outflows and has become an important issue as people have become more conscious about environmental issues involving effluents.
Waste-to-Energy: Research in this area has led to the developing of a new type of membrane for a process that can convert wastewater into hydrogen. This process is called UF-SURFACE. The technology developed by Dr. Eshghi and his team can be used to produce hydrogen at the cost of 6 cents per kilogram, compared to the current industry standards of 20 cents per kilogram. The project’s next stage will involve building an experimental unit to scale up the process from 2 to 200 liters and eventually to 2,000 liters- a prerequisite for industrialization.
Dr. Eshghi’s vision is to enable chemical and energy industries to produce hydrogen at an affordable cost while concurrently producing environmentally friendly products.