Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
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New Brunswick Undergraduate Catalog 2017-2019 School of Engineering Labs and Facilities Chemical and Biochemical Engineering  

Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

The department's instructional laboratories for chemical engineering majors contain modern analytical instruments and process engineering apparatus. Most equipment, such as the computer-coupled, closed-loop, continuous-flow distillation unit, features advanced microprocessor design, representing the state-of-the-art in automation.

As a special feature, the department's research equipment is available for students conducting undergraduate research, whether by individual arrangement or through programs such as the Chemical and Biochemical Engineering Research Scholars Academy and the James J. Slade Scholars Program. The impetus for this unique offering stems from the department's strong commitment to research and its active involvement with sponsored research projects at the university and state high-tech centers. Research is in such areas as advanced materials, bioengineering and biotechnology, sustainable energy and biofuels, process systems engineering, kinetics and catalysis, pharmaceutical engineering, and polymer science.

The department's major instructional laboratories include a chemical process engineering laboratory, a biochemical engineering laboratory, and pharmaceutical engineering laboratories.

The chemical-process engineering laboratory is devoted to the study of chemical reactions and physical phase separations for multicomponent systems. Typical apparatus includes distillation, gas absorption, liquid extraction, wiped-film evaporation, falling-film evaporation, and computer-coupled process control units. Special devices are used for the study of fluid flow in pipe systems and heat transfer in heat exchangers. Analyses of changes in chemical compositions are aided by gas chromatographs, UV and IR spectrophotometers, refractometers, and many other modern analytical instruments.

The department's biochemical engineering laboratory is devoted to the study of biochemical engineering processes and the detection and separation of biospecies resulting from these bioprocesses. Specific experiments in enzyme and fermentation kinetics, for batch and continuous systems, are provided. This fully equipped biolaboratory contains a wide range of analytical instruments and specialized devices, including a Pharmacia Fine-Chemicals microprocessor-controlled and automated liquid chromatograph analyzer, and a computer-coupled BIOFLOW III fermentor system.

The ion-containing polymer characterization laboratory contains various equipment, especially for light scattering and mechanical testing. Light-scattering instruments include low-angle light scattering, wide-angle and dynamic light scattering, and a differential refractometer. Mechanical testing instruments include a Minimart Tester and a dynamic mechanical thermal analyzer (polymer laboratory). There also is a facility for the investigation of theoretical properties of polymers by thermodynamics and statistical mechanics and other methods, and for computer modeling of their behavior.

The pharmaceutical engineering laboratories are environmentally controlled and capable of reproducing moisture and temperature conditions used in pharmaceutical manufacturing. In total, these modern facilities contain over 20 laminar flow hoods, three temperature and humidity-controlled rooms, and laboratory bench space designed for both small and large equipment and instruments. Equipment that relates to the synthetic production and purification of active pharmaceutical ingredients include stirred tanks, crystallizers, granulators, a rotating fluidized bed coater, dryers, a wipe-film evaporator, batch distillation column, liquid-liquid extractors, and a Particle Imaging Velocimeter/Laser-Induced Fluorometer. The research facility currently contains extensive solids-processing equipment used by major pharmaceutical, food, and agrochemical companies for the formulation of new products. This combination of equipment is rare in educational engineering programs. For example, the program currently owns a pan-coater, two tablet press, mills, fluidized-bed equipment, and essentially every category of powder blenders used in industry, including a five-cubic-foot capacity ribbon blender and a 10-cubic-foot capacity bin blender. The Continuous Pharmaceutical Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory is a fully integrated, control-enabled, commercial scale pilot plant for continuous manufacturing. This facility is the only one of its kind at a university anywhere in the world and has served as a model for numerous commercial facilities around the world.

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