- Applied Surface Chemistry
- Chemical Engineering Design
- Chemical Reaction Engineering
- Environmental Inorganic Chemistry
- Food Science
- Forest Products and Chemical Engineering
(approved by the Pro-Vice-President on May 17, 2005. Ref. nr. C2005/604)
(revised May 21, 2007)
(revised April 18, 2013)
(revised November 25, 2016)
1 Subject description and programme aims
The research area Chemical engineering deals with the interaction
between chemical and physical features in industrial chemical processes
and products. The research covers both intrascientific basic research
and applied research. The aim is to master industrial chemical processes
and products so that they can be designed optimally, both from an
environmental and financial point of view.
1.1 Special fields of research
1.1.1 Chemical Engineering Design
Chemical engineering design covers chemical production processes
where impulse, heat and material transfer are of key significance.
Research is, in general, focused on the design, upscaling, dimensioning
and development of equipment as well as mathematical modelling for
analysis and calculation of these operations.
Research at the division involves mathematical modeling, at
multi-scales, supported by experiments, and applications are found in
chemical-, pharmaceutical-, food-, pulp and paper, and automobile
industries. The processes are often multiphase including particles and
fibres, and we study both separation and mixing processes. Examples of
research projects include: coating in fluidized beds, granulation
(wet/dry), spray- and pneumatic drying, suspension/flocculation,
microwave and freeze drying, flow of pulp fibres (wet/dry), steam
explosion of wood material, and large scale chromatography.
1.1.2 Chemical Reaction Engineering
In the modern chemical industry the aim is to achieve high-quality
products and minimize unwanted by-products. Selectivity in the reactor
is particularly important in processes in which by-products cause
environmental problems (e.g. NOx and CO in exhaust gases from
automobiles). In processes where very high purity is required for
legislative reasons, such as in the pharmaceutical industry, the cost of
purification becomes important and reactor performance is of vital
significance. Knowledge of the advantages and drawbacks of chemical
reactor properties is therefore essential for all chemical and
biochemical processes. Research in chemical reaction engineering
includes the kinetics and dynamics of chemical and biochemical processes
coupled with molecular mass transport phenomena. Other important
research fields are turbulence modelling linked to chemical reaction,
fermentation processes, catalyst deactivation, process control,
stability and optimization.
Research areas are: Catalytic multiphase reactor system,
deactivation of catalysts, new design of catalysts, chemical reaction
and multiphase flow, exhaust gas catalysis, bio ethanol and biogas
production from renewable resources, chemical process design.
1.1.3 Food Science
The food industry is very much a process-oriented industry. As food
is a biological material characterised by considerable instability,
special consideration must be given when in industrial processes the
physical and/or chemical environment of the food changes. The research
is focused on the application of mild process conditions to preserve the
freshness and microbial safety of the food and also to apply
supercritical processes to improving product quality and process
1.1.4 Forest Products and Chemical Engineering
The aim of Forest products and chemical engineering is to provide
knowledge in order to facilitate efficient and sustainable utilization
of wood material. The research covers the development of processes for
separation and further valorisation of wood components with focus on the
Kraft process and its combinations with various biorefinery concepts.
More precisely: pre-treatment strategies to recover sensitive structures
prior to kraft cooking and kinetics of heterogeneous reactions (e.g.
kraft cooking, production of CNC, precipitation of lignin and
disintegration of lignin); downstream separation and fractionation (e.g.
filtration, membrane separation and evaporation) and further
modification of wood components (e.g. chemical modification and
1.1.5 Applied Surface Chemistry
Applied Surface Chemistry covers technical applications of surface
chemistry. Surface chemistry has its theoretical basis in physical
chemistry and can be divided into 1) surface and colloid chemistry,
mainly comprising solutions, and 2) solid surface chemistry. Surface
chemistry can be found as part of technical solutions within many
industries, from the food industry and pharmaceuticals to paper and
mining industries, as well as in industries where the nature and
reactivity of solid surfaces is crucial, such as in large parts of
materials technology, where superabsorbents, catalysts, fuel cells,
batteries and biomaterials are examples with extensive research in this
field. The term surface and colloid chemistry includes the
physicochemical properties and applications of surfactants and
suspensions. The area is a central part of nanomaterials chemistry
including the production of nanomaterials where the size and structure
is controlled at the nanometer scale. In this area, the research pace is
very high, and many high-tech materials are based on practices in this
field. A further field concerns supramolecular chemistry and special
investigations of structure as well as structure dynamics of such
systems. Biopolymergels and cellulose fibers are examples of
supramolecular systems studied. Transport of both water and substances
dissolved in water in these systems are investigated with the help of,
among other things, NMR diffusometry and various microscopy methods
1.1.6 Environmental Inorganic Chemistry
The overall research strategy within Environmental inorganic
chemistry is to contribute with chemical and material-chemical aspects
for the sustainable development of society.
Within combustion and gasification chemistry we study methods for
flue gas purification and the environmentally friendly use of residual
products. The soluble component and heavy metal content of the ash
limits possible areas of use, and consequently we study different
processes in order to stabilise or separate these components, e.g. in
biofuel or waste combustion ash.
Atmospheric corrosion is studied in the laboratory and includes
foundry metals, light metal alloys, stone materials and paper. The
durability of different types of modern and traditional construction
materials is an important area and we are working closely with the
Centre for Environment and Sustainability, GMV, on the preservation of
buildings and historic monuments. An important application for
theoretical calculations in oxide chemistry is improved properties of
1.2 The aim of the PhD studies
- The doctoral programme will provide depth within the specific
discipline and breadth throughout the whole of the chemico-technical
- The doctoral programme will be of such quality that the PhD
students and licentiate students are attractive to the Swedish and
international chemical industry.
- The doctoral programme will develop the individual's creativity and critical thinking.
- The research will be of such quality that the results can be
published in internationally recognised scientific journals with referee
- The graduate school will actively disseminate the research
results outside the research community to companies and interested
2 Qualification and admission
To qualify for admission to the postgraduate program in chemical
engineering a student must have completed a Master of Science in
Engineering (Civilingenjör) or a Master of Science (Filosofie magister),
or the equivalent. Students with equivalent degrees can be accepted to
the program after special consideration. The student should also be
judged to have the capacity to successfully complete a postgraduate
research education. The decision of admission to the graduate program is
taken by the Deputy Head of the Department after check-up and approval
from the Director of Studies for the Graduate School in Chemical
Engineering. For more details about admission requirements see the The
Graduate Student Handbook (Doctoral Programmes – From Admission to
3 Organization and structure of the program
For full-time students the programme is expected to require a net
period of four years for a PhD and two years for a licentiate degree.
The latter degree is strongly recommended as a stage along the path
towards a PhD.
The programme includes teacher-led courses, reading of literature
independently ("reading course"), thesis work and active participation
in the seminars run at the graduate school and within the person's own
subject specialisation. The emphasis in a doctoral programme should be
on research which will lead to a PhD or licentiate thesis. The research
should be equivalent to at least 75% of the nominal programme time.
Testing of knowledge following courses can take place through written or
oral examinations, submission of assignments, essays and seminars or in
another appropriate manner. The grades for courses are either Pass or
Within the graduate school at least one seminar day is held each
year. Each doctoral student must once a year present his/her research at
seminars/conferences. These seminars/conferences could have set themes
and could be introduced by researchers from industry or other
For details of the current range of courses, see the web site of
the Department (the Swedish web site): Utbildning - Forskarutbildning -
3.2.1 Mandatory courses at Chalmers
Common Chalmers courses: three higher education credits in
education, three higher education credits in ethics and zero higher
education credit for the ”General introduction for doctoral students”.
Doctoral students admitted after September 1, 2012, are required to
take 15 credit points from the area of Generic and Transferable Skills
during their graduate studies. Of these, 9 credit points are mandatory
for the licentiate degree, and another 6 credit points for the PhD
In addition to the courses within Generic and Transferable Skills,
the student is also required to participate in the introduction day for
doctoral students (before the licentiate examination, at latest).
Further requirements are an oral popular science presentation to be
performed prior to the PhD thesis defence and a written popular science
presentation to be published on the back of the PhD thesis.
4.1 Licentiate thesis
A licentiate thesis requires that the scientific work is presented
in the form of a report, which may either be in the form of a monograph
or a collection of articles together with an introduction. The
requirements of independence and scientific stingency are similar to
those applicable to a doctoral thesis but are applied to a lesser
degree. Before the printing of the licentiate thesis it should be
examined by the Director of Graduate Studies in Chemical Engineering if
at least half of the articles are published in peer reviewed journals.
If this is not the case, the licenciate thesis should be examined by two
referees. A licentiate thesis is presented at a public seminar and
according to the regulations of Chalmers University of Technology. For
more details, see the Chalmers web site Education – Doctoral Programmes -
From Admission to Graduation.
4.2 Doctoral thesis
A doctoral thesis requires that the scientific work is presented in
the form of a report, which may either be in the form of a monograph or
a collection of articles together with an introduction. The thesis
should be written in English. The quality of a doctoral thesis should be
such that it can be published in a high-standing, international journal
and stand up to peer review. The thesis should demonstrate a high level
of independence and scientific stringency. The thesis will be publicly
defended in accordance with rules of Chalmers University of Technology.
In order to assure the quality of a thesis before the public
defence, a preliminary version of the thesis should be previewed by the
opponent and the graduate committee. The thesis should be sent for
preview no later than three months before the defence, and written
statements should be returned to the department no later than two months
before the defence. There are special rules for a doctoral thesis at
the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.
For more details, see the Chalmers web site Education – Doctoral Programmes – From Admission to Graduation.
5 Requirements for the degree
5.1 Licentiate degree
The licentiate degree program consists of 120 higher education
credits. Course work amounting to at least 30 higher education credits,
but up to 60 higher education credits, and research work amounting to at
least 60 higher education credits, but typically 90 higher education
credits, and culminating in a licentiate thesis report, should be
completed for the licentiate degree.
5.2 Doctoral degree
The doctoral degree program consists of 240 higher education
credits. Course work amounting to at least 30 higher education credits,
but up to 60 higher education credits, and research work amounting to at
least 120 higher education credits, but typically 180 higher education
credits, and culminating in a doctoral thesis report, should be
completed for the doctoral degree.
A postgraduate student is entitled to receive academic advice and
guidance from the department at which he or she is pursuing doctoral
work for the equivalent of four years' full-time study, or two years'
full-time study for students pursuing the licentiate degree.
Each postgraduate student is assigned an examiner. The student
shall also have a main advisor (supervisor) who should have expertise in
the subject area of the thesis work, and at least one additional
co-advisor. The examiner and supervisor can be the same person.
Following admission to the graduate program, the student, in
consultation with the supervisor, examiner, and with the Director of
Studies of the Chalmers Graduate School in Chemical Engineering, must
formulate an individual plan of study and a time plan for the student’s
7 Examination of proficiency
The content of courses is tested by written and/or oral
examinations. Postgraduate students can receive the grades of pass or
8 Organization of the Graduate School in Chemical Engineering
The Deputy Head of the Department is responsible for the doctoral
education at the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering. The
Director of Studies is responsible for the Graduate School in Chemical
Engineering. There is also a Committee for research and PhD studies at