Chemical engineering research at Carnegie Mellon University

Since its inception in 1905, the Department of Chemical Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) has led research and innovation in chemical engineering. We continue this legacy today with our world-renowned faculty, who spearhead advanced research programs while collaborating with our students.

Our research fields span diverse areas that impact sustainability, energy, and health. By joining our research groups as an undergraduate or graduate student, you can work with advanced computational techniques, data science, and high-throughput automated experimental approaches to unlock new frontiers in chemical engineering. Learn about how our chemical engineering faculty and students help pave the way toward a cleaner, more efficient, and healthier future for all.

Collaborative research and lab environment

We cultivate a highly cooperative and interdisciplinary research culture at CMU's Department of Chemical Engineering. Our faculty team up with colleagues in the department, across CMU's colleges, and in industry and research organizations. In addition, students often work with more than one faculty advisor, benefiting from diverse and complementary expertise.

Located in Doherty Hall, our state-of-the-art research facilities also embody our commitment to both collaborative and independent excellence in research. The department has adopted an open plan for its laboratories to encourage researchers to share ideas and find ways to work with other teams. Gain access to cutting-edge experimental platforms and high-performance computing systems as a CMU chemical engineering student.

Earn your Ph.D. here

Direct your own comprehensive research project. As a Ph.D. student at CMU, you can apply chemical engineering principles and advanced analytical and experimental techniques to solve open-ended research problems and create real-world applications.

CMU Chemical Engineering research areas

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Air quality and climate

Study the complex chemistry and physics of the atmosphere, focusing on particulate matter. Develop instrumentation, observe satellite data, and use climate models to understand and predict atmospheric change due to human and natural activity.


Biotechnology and pharmaceutical engineering

Leverage chemical engineering principles to develop drug- or gene-delivery systems and optimize bioprocesses. Collaborate with clinicians and industry for biomedical applications, and utilize machine learning for drug discovery and assay development.

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Catalysis and surface science

Discover new catalyst materials and uncover new concepts in catalyst design through surface science experiments, data science, and molecular simulations. Find applications in hydrocarbon conversion, fuel cells, enantioselective synthesis, and more.

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Energy, decarbonization, and sustainability

Explore low-carbon solutions, industrial decarbonization, and renewable chemical pathways to create a sustainable future. Combine computational modeling with experimental work in catalysis and renewable polymers, renewable feedstocks, and more.

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Process systems engineering

Advance mathematical modeling, optimization techniques, and machine learning applications for large-scale process design and operations. Use these methods in fields ranging from energy systems to supply chain optimization.

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Soft materials and complex fluids

Investigate the intermolecular and surface forces governing micro- and nano-scale dynamics in soft matter systems, from agrochemicals to detergents. Perform physical experiments and advanced data analysis for sustainable product design with diverse applications.

Undergraduate research

Many chemical engineering majors join faculty projects that emphasize the discovery of new knowledge and methods that solve real-world problems.

Research spotlight: Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies

Contribute to pioneering research on air quality and atmospheric chemistry by joining the Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies (CAPS) as a master’s or Ph.D. student. As a CAPS researcher, you can investigate the formation, behavior, and impacts of airborne particulate matter through an interdisciplinary approach. 

Learn about CAPS

Explore graduate degree programs

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