Department of Chemical Engineering

Overview

Chemical engineers develop processes that transform raw materials into useful chemicals that enhance our quality of life. In addition to chemicals found in products used by consumers every day, chemical engineers create novel materials such as nanoscale composites, pharmaceuticals, plastics, fibers, metals, and ceramics. Chemical engineers are trained to design and control chemically reactive processes to achieve desired chemical purity.  However, they also use their intricate knowledge of chemistry, engineering principles, and applied mathematics to work in a variety of other applications.  These include applied energy systems, biomedical materials and therapies, and strategies to minimize the environmental impact of technological advancements. 

A common question that many ask is, “How is chemical engineering different from chemistry?” Typically, chemists create new molecules via chemical reactions, examine the underlying mechanisms involved, and make precise chemical measurements on a bench scale in small volumes. Chemical engineers utilize the initial work of the chemists, but often need to modify the reactions themselves, as they can be too slow to be useful.  Additionally, chemical engineers examine how the size of a system affects the chemistry, as both heat transfer and mixing processes get more difficult with increased system size—and the scale needs to be larger to meet demand for chemicals.  The interaction between size and chemistry is non-trivial and requires bench top and larger scale experimentation in which key parameters are measured.  Such parameters are, in turn, inserted into mathematical models to predict larger scales.  This is an iterative process and requires the intensive training that RIT chemical engineering provides.

Accreditation

The BS degree in chemical engineering is accredited by the Engineering Accreditation Commission of ABET, www.abet.org. For Enrollment and Graduations Data, Program Educational Objectives, and Student Outcomes, please visit the college’s Accreditation page.

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Undergraduate and Graduate Students

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Faculty Research Labs

Degree Programs

Undergraduate Degrees

A chemical engineering degree prepares you to advance nano-scale composites, pharmaceuticals, plastics, fibers, metals, and ceramics and to develop alternative energy systems, biomedical materials and therapies, and strategies that minimize the environmental impact of technological advancements.

Learn more about the Chemical Engineering BS program 

Graduate Degrees

In addition to the doctorate programs offered by the Kate Gleason College of Engineering, our faculty members are actively involved in advising students in doctoral programs across RIT, including Mathematical Modeling Ph.D. and Sustainability Ph.D..

The biomedical and chemical engineering Ph.D. program provides you with the knowledge, training, and expertise to tackle important problems in industry, academia, government, and health care.

Learn more about the Biomedical and Chemical Engineering Ph.D. program 

Conduct research in nano-engineering, design methods, and technologies for micro- and nano-scaled systems. This microsystems engineering doctorate is a multidisciplinary program that addresses the technical challenges of micro- and nano-systems.

Learn more about the Microsystems Engineering Ph.D. program 

Minors and Immersions

The minor in chemical engineering systems analysis provides students with a sophisticated understanding of the application of scientific knowledge to the solution of a vast array of practical problems in which chemistry plays a critical role. Students are taught the systems methodologies that chemical engineers employ to analyze and solve real world problems involving distinct chemical components, chemical reaction, multiple phases, and mass transfer.

Learn more about the Chemical Engineering Systems Analysis Minor program 

Research

Advanced Materials, Thermodynamics of Chirality

We design molecular building blocks to form complex self-assembled structures using thermodynamic principles and computational tools. 

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Application of Mathematical Modeling to Dynamic Systems

We specialize in asymptotic analysis techniques to study wave propagation and solve nonlinear equations of mathematical physics. 

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Biomacromolecules

We design nature-inspired, high-quality colloidal matter to study self-assembly in real time. 

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Optical Materials, Sensing, Catalysis

We design and prepare photoluminescent/plasmonic materials for portable sensing and single-molecule fluorescence catalysis. 

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Computational Surface Sciences

We apply state-of-the-art molecular simulation methods to study interfacial behavior and catalytic reaction mechanisms in heterogeneous systems. 

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Lithium Ion Batteries

We are improving lithium ion battery performance to increase energy density while maintaining power, cycle life, and safety. 

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NanoEng

We combine experimental and modeling techniques to address challenges of the water-energy nexus by developing sustainable processes. 

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Nanomaterials, Carbon Nanotube Conductors, Lithium Ion Batteries

We are involved with the synthesis and application of carbon nanotubes for power transmission wires and lithium ion batteries. 

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Latest News

Student Organizations

The student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE) promotes the chemical engineering program at RIT to current students, prospective students, professionals, and the community. To accomplish this mission, we have made it our goal to give students insight into the expansive field of chemical engineering by hosting guest speakers and organizing tours of both plants and research facilities in the area. Alexander Roth serves as AIChE Chapter Advisor. 

Student Resources

The chemical engineering department offers a variety of resources for our students that vary from academic support to handbooks and more. Visit our Student Resources page for more information.