Chemical Engineering MPhil and PhD

The Department of Chemical Engineering is a multidisciplinary centre focusing on research into future sustainable materials and technologies. The MPhil and PhD combine taught research training and applied research practice.

Candidates join the Department as a member of the Research Centre in which they initially have a broad research interest and that will have overseen their acceptance into the Department.

See full programme for more details.

Main areas of research

Chemical engineering research is one of the most crucial disciplines in the modern technological society. Such societies need to move towards sustainable development - the attainment of economic, environmental and social progress. Chemical engineering research supports development and production of new materials, fuels, drugs, consumer products, health care products, foods and beverages, electronic components, medical implants, and more. As the number and complexity of chemical, biochemical and biological materials used in consumer products and supporting technologies increases, chemical engineering research will play an increasingly vital role in the development of modern societies across the world. To achieve our goals of sustainable development, chemical engineers work ever more closely with other engineering and scientific disciplines, economists, sociologists and policy makers.

Research at Bath has always been multidisciplinary and covers a broad range of expertise. We collaborate proactively with pharmacists, chemists, mathematicians, physicists, biochemists and biologists, managers, economists, mechanical engineers and educators on many projects. We also collaborate extensively with businesses and educational establishments around the world.

Our research activities are grouped broadly into three main areas:

Advanced Materials and Porous Solids
Materials for hydrogen storage and CO2 sequestration, hollow fibre membranes, monolithic adsorbents, novel catalyst supports, materials for controlled drug delivery, etc.
Biochemical and Biomedical Engineering
Novel scaffolds for tissue engineering, bio-responsive "smart" materials, water purification, membrane bioreactors, biomolecules-surface interactions in membrane processes, etc.
Catalysis and Reaction Engineering
Development of novel catalysts, nanostructured materials for catalysis, design and fabrication of microreactors and compact structured reactors, processing of biofeedstocks, etc.

Advanced Materials and Porous Solids

Research Group Director: Prof B D Critten
  • nanoporous materials
  • hollow fibres for membranes
  • crystal engineering
  • carbons for hydrogen storage
  • gas separations and membrane reactors
  • environmental treatment technologies and waste minimisation
  • modelling diffusion in porous solids
  • membrane and waste water treatment

Biochemical and Biomedical Engineering

Research Group Director: Prof J B Chaudhuri
  • tissue engineering
  • membrane bioreactors
  • extremophile technology
  • biofouling and its prevention
  • biofuel cells and sensors
  • controlled drug delivery using bio polymers
  • smart biomaterials
  • molecular and surface interactions
  • biopolymer scaffolds for tissue regeneration

Catalysis and Reaction Engineering

Research Group Director: Prof S T Kolaczkowski
  • microreactors
  • reforming technology
  • gas/solid catalysis
  • chemical oxidation of pollutants
  • enhanced oil recovery
  • catalytic combustion
  • three phase catalytic reactors
  • diffusion in catalysts
  • monolith reactors
  • reactor modelling and CFD
  • biofeedstocks transformations



This is a dynamic department, actively pursuing advanced research in many areas of chemical, biochemical and biomedical engineering, and also offering taught Masters courses. The Department is internationally recognised for its contributions to research, many of which are achieved in partnership with industry and prestigious research organisations. A new, purpose-built Chemical Engineering building was opened by HRH The Duke of Edinburgh in March 2002. External reviewers have concluded that the Chemical Engineering building and its facilities are amongst the best in the country. Staff are highly skilled with excellent international reputations. Multidisciplinary collaboration is currently active with eleven other departments/schools and with numerous organisations worldwide. Examples include the prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professorship in Engineering Design for Sustainable Development (Chemical Engineering and five other University departments), the United Kingdom Sustainable Hydrogen Energy Consortium led by Dr Tim Mays for the Department. Over the last three years the Department has rapidly expanded its research base and the number of postgraduate students. Research is funded by the Research Councils, the DTI, the Royal Academy of Engineering, the British Council, the European Union, government research agencies, charities and private industry.

Facilities and equipment

The Department has a full range of research facilities with pilot plants for all major areas of research. Our analytical facilities include gas chromatography, mass spectrometry, high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), UV-VIS, FTIR and Raman, photon correlation spectroscopy (PCS), microcalorimetry, adsorption measurement systems, surface and pore structure analysis systems and particle sizing equipment. Within the University, there is access to atomic force, scanning and transmission electron microscopes. The Department is wellequipped with computing facilities, which include personal computers, workstations and access to the University network and the Internet. Researchers in the Department enjoy free access to scientific information databases and many scientific journals through the central University subscription and IT system.

International and industrial links

The Department participates in several University research centres, which include the Materials Research Centre, the International Centre for the Environment, the Centre for Extremophile Research, the Centre for Regenerative Medicine, and the Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies. Interdisciplinary research is undertaken through collaboration with several other departments at Bath. In addition, there are active links with UK universities - Bristol, Durham, Glasgow, Leeds, Imperial College, Liverpool, Oxford, Cambridge, Southampton, Edinburgh - and with European institutions including the CNRS laboratory at Toulouse and Lappeenranta University of Technology in Finland together with the Universities of Alicante, Delft, Oveido, Porto, Paris, Aachen and Wroclaw.

Research Awards and Distinctions

Professor Barry Crittenden and Dr Semali Perera, together with Dr Steve Tennison (MAST Carbon), have won the Severn Trent Water Safety Award for their work on monolithic carbon for solvent recovery and recycle. Holly Shearer was awarded the 2006 University Ede and Ravenscroft Prize for outstanding postgraduate research.

Careers information

We are committed to ensuring that postgraduate students acquire a range of subject-specific and generic skills during their research training including personal effectiveness, communication skills, networking and career management. Most of our graduates take up research, consultancy or process and product development and managerial appointments in the commercial sector, or in universities or research institutes. Some take up academic positions. There is currently a significant shortage of highly qualified researchers in Chemical Engineering, which ensures a buoyant jobs market.

Other resources

Postgraduate students are encouraged to become members of professional societies and to present the results of their research at national and international scientific meetings. The Department runs a vibrant weekly research seminar programme where students are given the opportunity to present their research.