Chemical Engineering


Dodecahedral W@WC composite

Catalytic, Separation and Purification Technology

Separations research covering both fundamental phenomenon as well as the design and simulation of conventional and new processes is underway. Research in adsorption, ion exchange and membrane separations is carried out in the Department. Applications in biotechnology, green processes, energy, and resource recovery and recycling are also the focus of the work.

Research projects cover a wide range of topics including nanofiltration of solvents, applications in fuel purification, ultrafiltration of proteins, nano-structured adsorbents for blood purification, liquid ion exchange membranes, enhanced oil / water separation by membranes, novel microfiltration membranes, biosensor, odour removal by adsorption processes.

Activities we address include but are not limited to:

  • Particle separation
  • High value particle production by membrane emulsification
  • Advanced Functional Nanomaterials and Photocatalysts
  • Filtration
  • Nanofiltration of solvents
  • Applications in fuel purification
  • Ultrafiltration of proteins
  • Nano-structured adsorbents for blood purification
  • Liquid ion exchange membranes
  • Enhanced oil / water separation by membranes
  • Novel microfiltration membranes
  • Electro-catalytic technologies for energy and environmental applications
    • Fuel cells
    • Batteries
    • Supercapacitors
    • Hydrogen production
    • Ozone generation for advanced oxidation
    • Semiconductor cleaning
    • Water treatment

More about us

Dodecahedral W@WC Composite as Efficient Catalyst for Hydrogen Evolution and Nitrobenzene Reduction Reactions

Core-shell composites with strong phase-phase contact could provide an incentive for catalytic activity. A simple yet efficient H2O-mediated method has been developed to synthesize mesoscopic core-shell W@WC architecture with dodecahedral microstructure, via one-pot reaction. The H2O plays an important role in the resistance of carbon diffusion, resulting in the formation of the W core and W-terminated WC shell. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations reveal that adding W as core reduced the oxygen adsorption energy and provided the W-terminated WC surface. The W@WC exhibits significant electrocatalytic activities towards hydrogen evolution and nitrobenzene electro-reduction reactions, which are comparable to those found for commercial Pt/C, and substantially higher than those found for meso- and nano- WC materials. The experimental results were explained by DFT calculations based on the energy profiles in the hydrogen evolution reactions over WC, W@WC and Pt model surfaces. The W@WC also shows a high thermal stability and thus may serve as a promising more economical alternative to Pt catalysts in these important energy conversion and environmental protection applications. The current approach can also be extended or adapted to various metals and carbides, allowing for the design and fabrication of a wide range of catalytic and other multifunctional composites.

Professor Wen-Feng Lin

Dodecahedral W@WC Composite as Efficient Catalyst for Hydrogen
Evolution and Nitrobenzene Reduction Reactions

High value particle production by membrane emulsification

Novel membranes are being used to form emulsions, and thereby particles after solidification, with a controlled particle size distribution. Novel methods of generating shear for the process are investigated. The emphasis is on robust processes that can be engineered for reliable use founded in a comprehensive understanding of the phenomena occurring. This includes coupled emulsion generation and reaction engineering for continuous production.

microporous membranemicroporous membrane  

Images: Novel microfiltration media used for membrane emulsification and particle separation at Loughborough University 

Top right image: Scanning Electron Microscope image of porous particles produced from a double emulsion formed using membrane emulsification.

Professor Richard Holdich

High value particle production by membrane emulsification