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Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology


Research undertaken in CEB follows two main strands: microstructure research and functional materials. It relates to the behaviour of complex fluids, particulates, pastes and powders and new materials generated using synthetic biology, some of which have also found synergy with drug delivery materials and diagnostics. A key feature is understanding how the processing of these materials can be used to improve existing manufacturing routes and develop new ones.

Understanding how to manufacture multiphase materials is linked to work on product design, which determines the performance required from a material or a product, for example its rheology and processing behaviour. An area of increasing importance is our molecule-to-machine-to-modelling capability, which is supported by fundamental understanding of how materials evolve during processing and provides numerical simulation of the material-machine interactions, in foods, pharmaceuticals and granulated solids.

New technologies in biology are also being adopted to generate functional materials that exploit enzymes, bacteria, viruses and other materials of biological origin to perform tasks in processing, diagnostics and drug delivery.

Several of our research groups are developing strategies to advance the understanding of engineering structures at the micro- and nano- scales, to enable the production of well-defined microstructures for use in the development of materials for next-generation processes and the quantitative measurement of chemical and biochemical phenomena.

Current research:

  • Understanding of how to manufacture multiphase materials, with linkage to product design and performance requirements, for example rheology and processing behaviour
  • Elucidation of the mechanisms underpinning the control of drug release, catalytic function or achieving high performance
  • Modelling of the behaviour of particulates, pastes and powders in processing applications and material-machine interactions, in foods, pharmaceuticals and granulated solids
  • Structural analysis of large biomolecules to understand structure/function relationships
  • Development of nanoparticles for targeted therapy
  • Generation of new materials using synthetic biology


There is a large body of collaborative research with industrial partners, including process optimisation, development of controlled release coatings in the pharmaceutical industry, methods for quantifying coating structure integrity, extrusion of hardmetal parts, and drying of complex fluid films to generate VDU screens.