Chemistry & Chemical Engineering Research

There are many opportunities for undergraduates to work with faculty on independent research project in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.

The university encourages these activities through the campus-wide Experiential Educational Program and through funding for faculty and students. The SURF program and funding for faculty supports many research programs on campus.

Students are encouraged to talk to faculty about possible research opportunities. In the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, faculty have a wide variety of research interests including exploring new organic reactions, discovering means to generate bio-fuels, developing new sensor systems, studying computational models of chemical reactions and developing nanotechnology. Students work closely with faculty in small research teams and are involved to presenting research projects at scientific meetings both on and off campus; many students become authors on research publications. Students participate in projects over the summer, during winter intersession and during the academic year in Independent Study courses.

Recent research projects in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering are listed below.


Student spotlight: Amanda McKnight and Shane Fisher and Edwin David are spending their summer working on research projects with Professors Dequan Xiao and Amanda Simson. Shane and Amanda are working on converting phragmites (an invasive plant species) into useable fuel and Edwin is working on converting power plant flue gas into methane as part of the SURF program.

Examples of recent undergraduate research projects:

Interdisciplinary faculty research project:

  • Computation of Absolute Redox Potentials of Organic Compounds by DFT Methods

The state-of-the-art equipment we use:

  • NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) spectrometer
  • Phillips XRG 3100/PW1710 Diffractometer
  • uTA Microthermal Analyzer
  • Ocean Optics UV-Vis and fluorescence spectrometers 
  • Facilities for vacuum techniques, compressed gas handling, and cryogenics with temperature, pressure, and flow transducers interfaced to PCs
  • Verneir Labquest data collection devices for the study of gas properties.