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Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering Research


Our faculty are comprehensive engineers and researchers who strengthen our community by combining invention and innovation to find innovative solutions to global challenges.

Chemical Engineering Lab

Recent Awards

Congratulations to Khalid Lafdi, professor and Wright Brothers Endowed Chair in Nanomaterials:

  • Recognized as one of the top 2% of the world's most influential scientists, according to Stanford University for 2021, 2022 and 2023
  • Awarded 2023 Honoris Causa Doctor of Innovation of Scientific Research from Oxford University 
  • Ranked #2499 nationally and #9758 in the world for the distinguished title of Best Scientists in the field of Materials Science by the 2023 edition of 
Congratulations to Don Klosterman, associate professor and John F. and Leona D. Torley Chair in Composites Materials, who gained additional funding to support the development of state-of-the-art polymers for aerospace applications.

A pair of UD researchers are part of a $752,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help prevent Listeria and other contamination in food. Dr. Erik Vasquez, associate professor in chemical engineering, and Yvonne Sun, associate professor in biology, are using nanotechnology responsive to magnetic fields to develop a multi-functional "counter structure" with synthetic or natural disinfectants to prevent growth of the toxic biofilm.

Learn more about the award
Detecting Danger

Can a wearable device the size of a memory stick protect people from harm due to airborne toxins and other inhalation hazards? Christopher Muratore, associate professor of chemical and materials engineering and Ohio Research Scholars Endowed Chair Professor, leads a research team developing low-cost wearable sensors that can.

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Department Research Labs

Director: Chris Muratore

The Advanced Electronic Biosensor Fabrication Lab features scaled materials synthesis and high-speed fabrication tools for mass-production of adaptable electronic 2D sensor platforms suitable for rapid (30 second) and specific detection of viruses and biomarkers in biological samples. These tools include vapor phase deposition systems, high-speed patterning lasers, an inkjet printer for application of coatings for specific detection, an electronic probe station and high-throughput wireless data acquisition systems.

Director: Li Cao

The Advanced Materials & Additive Manufacturing (AM&AM) Laboratory is dedicated to research in advanced materials development using various additive manufacturing techniques. The primary objective of our research lab is to develop high-performance polymer, ceramic, and metal-based matrix nanocomposites with improved mechanical, tribological, thermal, electrical, optical or magnetic properties tailored for specific applications. Equipped with diverse 3D printing technologies, our lab serves both research and teaching purposes. These advanced manufacturing technologies include laser powder bed fusion (LPBF), vat photopolymerization (VP), fused deposition modeling (FDM), direct ink writing (DIW) and inkjet printing. Utilizing these state-of-the-art 3D printing technologies, we aim to explore the inherent beauty and potential of materials, push the boundaries of material science and develop advanced materials with enhanced properties to address the needs of various applications.

Director: Soubantika Palchoudhury

Learn more about the Advanced Nanomaterials Lab

Director: Khalid Lafdi

The Carbon Research Lab is focused on the growth, fabrication and manufacturing of all kinds of nanomaterials with various chemical compositions, shapes and morphologies such as spherical, cylindrical, lamellar and undefined. Three methods of preparation of nanocomposites are available using wet chemistry, precipitation and/or chemical and physical vapor deposition. The lab contains state of the art equipment for materials processing control.  At each stage of the process, materials are characterized using multiple microscopic and spectroscopic techniques. The Carbon Research Lab provides controlled conditions in which research experiments and measurement may be performed at multiple scales from macro to nanometric scale.

Director: Kristen Krupa

The Cellular Evaluation of Bioengineering Applications Lab merges chemical engineering foundation with both bioengineering and nanomaterial-bioeffects and has the central goal of bridging the in vitro – in vivo gap through the generation and implementation of enhanced, physiologically-relevant cellular-based. The first research goal is to design and generate enhanced in vitro models that retain the advantages of cell-based systems, but incorporate key physiological influences, including the inclusion of fluid dynamics, the generation of multicellular models, the replacement of cell culture medium with biological fluids and the utilization of three-dimensional (3D) growth scaffolds. The second research goal is to implement these enhanced models for safety and efficacy evaluations of emerging biomedical therapeutics. Endeavors have heavily focused on nanomaterial (NM) characterization and assessment, cancer therapeutic evaluation and evaluation of novel antibiotics.

Director: Kevin Hinkle

The Molecular Simulations of Nanomaterial Surfaces Lab uses computational modeling to investigate the behavior of materials and interfaces at the molecular level. Problems such as these extend to many applications including reverse osmosis membranes and drug delivery. Molecular simulation allows us to access information that may not be possible in experiments and our goal is to use this to enable more efficient design of nanomaterials for specific materials science and biomedical applications.

Director: Erick Vasquez

Learn more about the NEMLab

Director: Don Klosterman

The University of Dayton Polymers and Composites Lab showcases several types of processing equipment to make polymer and fiber-reinforced polymer samples, as well as extensive characterization equipment.  Our research revolves around the development and testing of new lightweight materials for aircraft and spacecraft applications, such as composites and adhesives.  Additional focus is on improved flame retardants for these materials, which is a collaboration with the University of Dayton Research Institute (UDRI) and the University of Dayton Department of Chemistry and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Engineering Mechanics. Dr. Klosterman works with students ranging from the undergraduate to doctoral levels to get hands-on experience in the lab, including materials preparation, processing and testing.  The UD student chapter of SAMPE also utilizes this lab space each spring semester for the annual composite bridge building contest design competition.

Learn more about the PAC Lab

Director: Sarwan Sandhu

The major research and system development projects investigated by the Sarwan Sandhu Research Lab consist of flame speed on a porous fibrous bed, laser interferometric study of heat transfer in D.C. electric fields, emission of oxides of nitrogen from fluidized bed combustion of coal, thermodynamic simulation as well as heat and mass transfer analysis of an ideal hydrogen/oxygen fuel cell, carbon-carbon surface oxidation protection, chemical kinetics model of the pyrolysis of carbon-carbon composites and the various other research projects in the areas of fuel cells and lithium-ion cells/batteries.  Dr. Sandhu has been conducting both the theoretical and experimental investigations.  Since 1998, the experimental research work required for the validation of theoretical models is conducted in collaboration with Dr. Joseph P. Fellner, WPAFB.

Areas of Research

  • Process systems engineering
  • Chemical reaction engineering
  • Nanomaterials
  • Bioenergy
  • Molecular modeling
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Heat transfer and fluid flow in alternative energy systems
  • Composite materials
  • Materials testing
  • Biomaterials

Faculty Research and Expertise

Dr. Klosterman’s research focuses on the development and testing of advanced polymers and composites for aerospace, infrastructure and transportation applications. Advanced composites contain continuous fibers of carbon, glass or Kevlar embedded in a polymer matrix. These lightweight materials are the ultimate designer material in that their mechanical properties can be highly tailored for a given application to save weight. Dr. Klosterman is involved with material processing and fabrication (i.e. fabricating composite panels), characterizing the physical and thermal properties of the material using laboratory equipment and mechanical testing. Some of his research involves flame retardant polymers and collaboration with professors in other departments around UD.

Learn more about Dr. Klosterman's research

Dr. Krupa’s research laboratory, which merges chemical engineering foundation with both bioengineering and nanomaterial-bioeffects, has the central goal of bridging the in vitro – in vivo gap through the generation and implementation of enhanced, physiologically-relevant cellular-based. Research efforts are divided into two primary focus areas. The first is the design and generation of enhanced in vitro models that retain the advantages of cell-based systems, but incorporate key physiological influences, including the inclusion of fluid dynamics, the generation of multicellular models, the replacement of cell culture medium with biological fluids and the utilization of three-dimensional (3D) growth scaffolds. The second research focus of Dr. Krupa’s laboratory is on the implementation of these enhanced models for safety and efficacy evaluations of emerging biomedical therapeutics. Thus far, endeavors have heavily focused on nanomaterial (NM) characterization and assessment, cancer therapeutic evaluation, evaluation of novel antibiotics.

Learn more about Dr. Krupa's research

Khalid Lafdi is the Wright Brothers Institute Endowed Chair in nanomaterials. He joined the University of Dayton as a professor to lead the nano research activity and was involved in building the nano research capabilities at UD. In the last 15 years, he has built a state-of-the-art thermal and energy management laboratory. Also, he established a manufacturing transition facility to facilitate the scale-up processes and technology transfer. His 30 years of experience in advanced engineered materials has enabled his position to develop multifunctional composites, biomaterials for scaffolds and implants, thermal and energy management. At this time, he has more than 300 articles and chapters published in refereed journals, 4 edited books in the nanocomposites and thermal management and 4 patents with three major licensed technologies in nano-manufacturing to Nanosperse Inc, United Technology and Goodrich.

Learn more about Dr. Lafdi's research

Dr. Muratore leads a team researching novel nanomaterials processes and applications. He also collaborates closely with multiple research teams as a faculty fellow in both the materials and manufacturing and sensors directorates at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) advising and mentoring scientists and students in areas of ultra-thin semiconducting materials for sensing and other applications. Muratore currently works closely with multiple sensing and medical diagnostics companies transitioning scaled nanoelectronic device fabrication methods for mass production.  Muratore is inventor on 12+ provisional/conferred patents and 100+ publications. He is a fellow of the American Vacuum Society and on the board of directors of the Society of Vacuum Coaters. His B.S. in Metallurgical and Materials Engineering was received in 1999, and Ph.D. in Materials Science in 2002, both from the Colorado School of Mines.

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Dr. Myers works with an industrial collaborator to find solutions to industrial fluid mixing challenges. This includes developing new hardware and the associated design procedures for miscible fluid blending, gas-liquid contacting, solid-liquid mixing and static mixer applications.

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Dr. Pirlo leads the Biomatter Manipulation Technologies Group in the research and development of biomaterials, manufacturing processes and additively manufactured devices. The group’s work is focused on applications in drug discovery, biomanufacturing and biosensing. At the materials level, his research leverages electrospun nanofibers and hydrogel materials including conducive nanocomposites. These materials are processed using multi-material, multi-mode additive manufacturing (3D printing) to integrate cell scaffolds, electrochemical sensors and functional fluidics into lab-on-chip (LOC), organ-on-chip (OOC) and minimally invasive microneedle (MN) devices. The multidisciplinary group has a diverse range of interdisciplinary projects, with student opportunities in computer programming, material synthesis and characterization, computer aided design, electrochemistry, cell culture and bioassays. Dr. Pirlo emphasizes the importance of manufacturability and intellectual property in translating engineering research into value adding products and technologies.

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Dr. Vasquez's technical research focuses on designing advanced nanocomposite materials, mainly using magnetic nanoparticles, for water purification, biological applications and bacteria detection and eradication. Currently, he is working on the encapsulation of magnetic nanoparticles using biocompatible and electrically responsive polymers for drug delivery applications, the preparation of disinfectant nanomaterials for the elimination of Listeria monocytogenes and the fabrication of magnetic gels for removing toxins and pollutants from water. Dr. Vasquez collaborates with several researchers and faculty at UD and across the U.S.

Learn more about Dr. Vasquez's research
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Chemical and Materials Engineering and Bioengineering, Dr. Kristen Krupa, Department Chair

Kettering Laboratories
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 0256