Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science


Since its inception in 1987, UC Irvine's Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science has directed its attention to cutting-edge problems beyond the scope of traditional chemical engineering, a trend now reflected in most major academic institutions around the world. The department's mission is to create new knowledge in chemical engineering and materials science  and prepare undergraduate and graduate students for successful careers. Scholarship is focused around five primary research domains: biotechnology, energy, environment, microstructured materials and nanotechnology.

Chemical engineering uses knowledge of chemistry, mathematics, physics, biology and humanities to solve societal problems in areas such as energy, health, the environment, food, clothing, shelter and materials and serves a variety of processing industries whose vast array of products include chemicals, petroleum products, plastics, pharmaceuticals, foods, textiles, fuels, consumer products, and electronic and cryogenic materials. Chemical engineers also serve society in improving the environment by reducing and eliminating pollution.

Materials science engineering activities cover not only areas whose utility can be identified today, but also areas whose utility may be unforeseen. The discipline addresses not only topics related to metals and alloys but also includes those relevant to ceramics, composites, polymers, biomaterials, nanostructures, intelligent materials and electronic devices. Materials scientist engineers work in a variety of engineering operations, such as the design of semiconductors and optoelectronic devices, development of new technologies based on composites and high-temperature superconductivity, biomedical products, performance (quality, reliability, safety, energy efficiency) in automobile and aircraft components, improvement in nondestructive testing techniques, corrosion behavior in refineries, radiation damage in nuclear power plants and fabrication of advanced materials.

The department has 31 affiliated research faculty, 16 with primary appointments in chemical engineering and materials science and 15 with primary appointments in other units on campus. Four faculty members are National Science Foundation Early Career Development Awardees, one is a Presidential Awardee for Excellence in Mathematics, Science and Engineering Mentoring, and two senior professors are designated  as "Highly Cited Researchers," an honor bestowed on only 0.5 percent of authors worldwide. The department currently has 13 active NSF research grants.