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Chemical reaction engineering (reaction engineering or reactor engineering) is a specialty in chemical engineering or industrial chemistry dealing with chemical reactors. Frequently the term relates specifically to catalytic reaction systems where either a homogeneous or heterogeneous catalyst is present in the reactor. Sometimes a reactor per se is not present by itself, but rather is integrated into a process, for example in reactive separations vessels, retorts, certain fuel cells, and photocatalytic surfaces. The issue of solvent effects on reaction kinetics is also considered as an integral part.
Chemical reaction engineering as a discipline started in the early 1950s under the impulse of researchers at the Shell Amsterdam research center and the university of Delft. The term chemical reaction engineering was apparently coined by J.C. Vlugter while preparing the 1st European Symposium on Chemical Reaction Engineering which was held in Amsterdam in 1957.
Chemical reaction engineering aims at studying and optimizing chemical reactions in order to define the best reactor design. Hence, the interactions of flow phenomena, mass transfer, heat transfer, and reaction kinetics are of prime importance in order to relate reactor performance to feed composition and operating conditions. Although originally applied to the petroleum and petrochemical industries, its general methodology combining reaction chemistry and chemical engineering concepts allows optimization of a variety of systems where modeling or engineering of reactions is needed. Chemical reaction engineering approaches are indeed tailored for the development of new processes and the improvement of existing technologies.
The most important series of symposia are the International Symposia on Chemical Reaction Engineering or ISCRE conferences.These three-day conferences are held every two years, rotating among sites in North America, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region, on a six-year cycle. These conferences bring together for three days distinguished international researchers in reaction engineering, prominent industrial practitioners, and new researchers and students of this multifaceted field. ISCRE symposia are a unique gathering place for reaction engineers where research gains are consolidated and new frontiers explored. The state of the art of various sub-disciplines of reaction engineering is reviewed in a timely manner, and new research initiatives are discussed.
The ISCRE Board administers two premiere awards in chemical reaction engineering for senior and junior researchers every three years.
In 1996, the ISCRE Board of Directors established the Neal R. Amundson Award for Excellence in Chemical Reaction Engineering. This award recognizes a pioneer in the field of Chemical Reaction Engineering who has exerted a major influence on the theory or practice of the field, through originality, creativity, and novelty of concept or application. The award is made every three years at an ISCRE meeting, and consists of a Plaque and a check in the amount of $5000. The Amundson Award is generously supported by a grant from the ExxonMobil Corporation. Winners of the award include:
In 2016, the ISCRE, Inc. Board of Directors will bestow the first Rutherford Aris Young Investigator Award for Excellence in Chemical Reaction Engineering.This award will recognize outstanding contributions in experimental and/or theoretical reaction engineering research of investigators in early stages of their career. The recipient must be less than 40 years of age at the end of the calendar year in which the award is presented. The Aris Award is generously supported by a grant from the UOP, L.L.C., a Honeywell Company. The award consists of a plaque, an honorarium of $3000, and up to $2000 in travel funds to present at an ISCRE/NASCRE conference and to present a lecture at UOP. This award complements ISCRE's other major honor, the Neal R. Amundson Award. Winners of the award include:
Physical chemistry is the study of macroscopic, and particulate phenomena in chemical systems in terms of the principles, practices, and concepts of physics such as motion, energy, force, time, thermodynamics, quantum chemistry, statistical mechanics, analytical dynamics and chemical equilibrium.
A chemical reactor is an enclosed volume in which a chemical reaction takes place. In chemical engineering, it is generally understood to be a process vessel used to carry out a chemical reaction, which is one of the classic unit operations in chemical process analysis. The design of a chemical reactor deals with multiple aspects of chemical engineering. Chemical engineers design reactors to maximize net present value for the given reaction. Designers ensure that the reaction proceeds with the highest efficiency towards the desired output product, producing the highest yield of product while requiring the least amount of money to purchase and operate. Normal operating expenses include energy input, energy removal, raw material costs, labor, etc. Energy changes can come in the form of heating or cooling, pumping to increase pressure, frictional pressure loss or agitation.
Octave Levenspiel was a professor of chemical engineering at Oregon State University (OSU). His principal interest was chemical reaction engineering, and he was the author of a major textbook Chemical Reaction Engineering as well as numerous research publications.
Willis Harmon Ray is an American chemical engineer, control theorist, applied mathematician, and a Vilas Research emeritus professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison notable for being the 2000 winner of the prestigious Richard E. Bellman Control Heritage Award and the 2019 winner of the Neal Amundson Award.
Rutherford "Gus" Aris was a chemical engineer, control theorist, applied mathematician, and a Regents Professor Emeritus of Chemical Engineering at the University of Minnesota (1958–2005).
Neal Russell Amundson was an American chemical engineer and applied mathematician. He was the Chair of the Department of Chemical Engineering at the University of Minnesota for over 25 years. Later, he was the Cullen Professor of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and Mathematics at the University of Houston. Amundson was considered one of the most prominent chemical engineering educators and researchers in the United States.. The Chemical Engineering and Materials Science building at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities bears his name.
Lanny D. Schmidt was an American chemist, inventor, author, and Regents Professor of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at the University of Minnesota. He is well known for his extensive work in surface science, detailed chemistry (microkinetics), chemical reaction engineering, catalysis, and renewable energy. He is also well known for mentoring over a hundred graduate students and his work on millisecond reactors and reactive flash volatilization.
Arvind Varma was the R. Games Slayter Distinguished Professor, School of Chemical Engineering at Purdue University. His research interests are in chemical and catalytic reaction engineering, and new energy sources.
This bibliography of Rutherford Aris contains a comprehensive listing of the scientific publications of Aris, including books, journal articles, and contributions to other published material.
Doraiswami Ramkrishna is the Harry Creighton Peffer Distinguished Professor of Chemical Engineering at Purdue University since 1994.
Grigoriy Yablonsky is an expert in the area of chemical kinetics and chemical engineering, particularly in catalytic technology of complete and selective oxidation, which is one of the main driving forces of sustainable development.
Prof. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Hungenberg is Vice President of Polymer Reaction Engineering at BASF SE, a German chemist and a Professor at the University of Paderborn.
Dale F. Rudd (1935–2018) was an American Chemical Engineer and Donald C. Slichter Professor Emeritus of Engineering Research at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is known for his influential work in process engineering, in particular for introducing computer aided process synthesis design strategies for large scale chemical industries. He co-wrote the first textbook in process engineering, and was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1978.
Chemical reaction models transform physical knowledge into a mathematical formulation that can be utilized in computational simulation of practical problems in chemical engineering. Computer simulation provides the flexibility to study chemical processes under a wide range of conditions. Modeling of a chemical reaction involves solving conservation equations describing convection, diffusion, and reaction source for each component species.
Ioannis George (Yannís) Kevrekidis is currently the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering within the Whiting School of Engineering, Johns Hopkins University. He holds secondary appointments in the Whiting School's Department of Applied Mathematics & Statistics and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine's Department of Urology.
Dan Luss is an American chemical engineer, who is the Cullen Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Houston. He is known for his work in chemical reaction engineering, complex reacting systems, multiple steady-states reactor design, dynamics of chemical reactors, and combustion.
Gilbert F. Froment is professor emeritus of chemical engineering at the University of Gent, Belgium, and research professor of Texas A&M University. Froment's career and influence bridges the gap between academic kinetic and chemical reaction engineering studies, and application of that fundamental science to problems of industrial relevance.
Laxmangudi Krishnamurthy Doraiswamy (1927–2012) was an Indian chemical engineer, author and academic, known for his contributions in developing Organic synthesis engineering as a modern science discipline. Chemical Engineering journal of McGraw Hill listed him among the 10 most distinguished chemical engineers in the world in 1988. He was the author of nine texts in chemical engineering, including Organic Synthesis Engineering, a 2001 publication which is known to have introduced the topic as a definitive scientific stream and Heterogeneous reactions: Analysis, Examples, and Reactor Design, reportedly the first comprehensive text in chemical engineering.
Greg N. Stephanopoulos (1950–Present) is an American chemical engineer and the Willard Henry Dow Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has worked at MIT, Caltech, and the University of Minnesota in the areas of biotechnology, bioinformatics, and metabolic engineering especially in the areas of bioprocessing for biochemical and biofuel production. Stephanopoulos is the author of over 400 scientific publications with more than 35,000 citations as of April 2018. In addition, Greg has supervised more than 70 graduate students and 50 post-docs whose research has led to more than 50 patents. He was elected a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2005), a member of the National Academy of Engineering (2003), and received the ENI Prize on Renewable Energy 2011.
Paul Dauenhauer, a chemical engineer, is the Lanny Schmidt Honorary Professor at the University of Minnesota (UMN). He is recognized for his research in catalysis science and engineering, especiall, his contributions to the understanding of the catalytic breakdown of cellulose to renewable chemicals, the invention of oleo-furan surfactants, and the development of catalytic resonance theory.