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Chemical Engineering (CHE)

Chemical engineering seniors are required to complete a laboratory intensive course for their capstone design project. Over the progression of one semester, student teams identify, design and build a solution to real-world problems that integrate principles from the chemical engineering curriculum. These industry and academically sponsored projects provide students valuable experience in project management, teamwork and individual accountability, as well as in research and development. Example projects include: minimizing wastewater, optimizing or troubleshooting manufacturing processes, purification of reagents, fabrication of a kidney tissue model, and process characterization such as distillation, fluid mixing, or fermentation. External sponsors are continually impressed by the high level of professionalism and rigor demonstrated by our CHE students as well as the depth of research and experimentation completed in relatively short time.

Contact Information

Prof. Melodie Lawton,

Clair Cunningham,

Course Instructors: Prof. Melodie Lawton, Course PI; Mark Juba, Adjunct; F. Doug Kelley, Adjunct; Wayne Griffin, Adjunct; Clair Cunningham; Mason Garlatti

CHE Design Projects

May 2, 2024 | 01:47 pm

Danimer Scientific

Authors Mentors Mitch Anthamatten and Melodie Lawton ( Department of Chemical Engineering) Abstract The crystallization speed of a polymer can be a limiting step in the production of products. The…

May 2, 2024 | 11:13 am

Plug Power

Author Mentor Katlyn Conway and Professor Griffin Abstract Plug Power’s internal R&D lab lacks the space for full-scale coating and drying equipment. Their current drying process involves a 480 ft/min…


Ticklers prevent heel formation from occurring and allow for most, if not all, material to drain through the tank. The goal of this project is to design a system to test different tickler impeller configurations to optimize slurry draining performance.

topics: Chemical Engineering, impeller, mixing, slurry,

The purpose of this project was to identify and optimize factors for a continuous reactor that can be used to prepare aryl amines from nitro arenes using an acid/proton donor system and a heterogeneous palladium catalyst.

topics: Chemical Engineering, chemical kinetics,
CHE Archive
April 28, 2023 | 09:58 am

Gold Etchant Characterization

This project explores the effects of an iodine based etchant on the etch rates of both electroplated and sputtered gold coated silicon wafers.

topics: chemical kinetics, manufacturing, microelectronics, semiconductors, wafer,
CHE Archive
April 28, 2023 | 09:52 am

Ethanol Reuse for Cannabinoid Extraction

In order to decrease costs of NoWave’s cannabis extraction process, methods were investigated to increase yield and allow for more reuse of the ethanol

topics: Cannnabinoid, Chemical Engineering, chemical processing, Distillation, Extraction,
CHE Archive
April 20, 2022 | 10:39 am

Hemp Composites

Hemp composites are a sustainable alternative to carbon fiber and fiberglass composites. Our team has developed a manufacturing process and testing procedure to characterize hemp composites.

Proposed by SPX Flow, the goal of this project is to characterize the oxygen transfer rate (OTR) within inert fluids of various viscosities.
Paul Eisold, Kamal Raji, Rony Waheibi, Collins Yawe

topics: bioreactor, chemical kinetics, excess sulfite method, fluid dynamics, fluid mixing, gas and liquid interface, mass transfer, reactor design, SPX Flow,

This Xerox-sponsored project aims to completely separate high viscosity PDMS and heptane via a solvent evaporation process followed by supercritical carbon dioxide extraction.
Alissa DeRubertis, Colin Ikei, Bryan Schellberg, Mark Volkin

topics: CHE, Extraction, PDMS, Polymers, Separation, Soft Matter, Supercritical Extraction,
CHE Archive
March 17, 2021 | 05:42 pm

Separating PFAS from Landfill Wastewater

This project, sponsored by Waste Management, is interested in comparing two methods for the removal of PFAS from landfill leachate, foam separation and activated carbon adsorption.
Justin King, Ashley Sibanda, Claire Wilson

topics: activated carbon, environmental, EPA, foam separation, forever chemicals, leachate, PFAS, wastewater,
CHE Archive
March 17, 2021 | 05:40 pm

URMC Kidney Model Optimization

The URMC Kidney Model Optimization Project aims to create a polymer material that can simulate the human kidney for practice by surgical residents.
Bimpe Isafiade, Harshita Mahaseth, Natalie Ramesh, Baris Eser Ugur

topics: chemical processing, crosslinking, IR, kinetics, material design, material properties, polymer, PVA, surgery simulation, URMC, Young's Modulus,

This project aims to characterize a wastewater stream in addition to addressing biochemical oxygen demand in cooperation with LiDestri.
Katerina Connor, Junseok Jeon, Connor Pope, Brian Yegela

topics: beverage, biochemical oxygen demand, BOD, citric acid, refractive index, spirits, sucrose, waste stream, wastewater, yeast,

This project was to design an accelerated testing system for Harbec, Inc to evaluate gaskets in the India Mark II hand pump for installation by the Ugandan Water Project.

Dan Allara, Oion Akif, Paul Irving, Tessa Ludwick

topics: accelerated life testing, clean water, gasket, hand pump, India Mark II, polymer, polyurethane, rubber, test stand, Uganda, water,
3. Programs Archive
March 17, 2021 | 05:11 pm

Purification of LUV Dye Using Column Chromatography

In this project, a lab-scale chromatography process was developed to purify crude LUV dye. Upon scale up at Eastman Kodak Company, the chromatography process would be able to purify 2 kg/day.
Quinton Dang, Waad Magram, Zhiwei Wang

topics: burette, chomatography, column, column bed, manufacturing, pipette, purification, sand, silica,
3. Programs Archive
March 17, 2021 | 05:09 pm

Packed Bed Reactors for Academic Experimentation

This project aims to design and build a multi-channel reverse water gas shift reactor system that allows for exploration of heterogeneous catalysis.
Ahmad El Gazzar, Thien Hung Nguyen, Clive Onyango, Emilio Vega-Ramos

topics: catalysis, catalytic reactors, chemical kinetics, gas chromatography, heterogenous catalysis, reactor, reactor design, reverse water gas shift reactor,
4. Keywords Archive
April 22, 2020 | 10:32 pm

Pure LUV

Identify inexpensive process for in-house purification of motion picture film dye for Kodak.

CHE Archive
April 22, 2020 | 10:32 pm

Photochemical Test Chamber

Creation of atmospherically-controlled chamber for UV degradation testing of novel OLED materials for Molecular Glasses, Inc.

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