CHME 2308, Northeastern University
What does it mean to be a chemical engineer? This is the class where we begin to address that. It has to do with relating systems of algebraic equations to situations found in the real world. Once established, this coupling between the world and mathematics allows us to analyze processes, using two important concepts: conservation of mass and conservation of energy. What is a process? Lots of things qualify as "processes," and that is another major topic we address.
CHME 5621, Northeastern University
Electrochemistry is fundamentally an interfacial science, dealing with reactions that happen between an electrode and electrolyte. At this interface, there is a nm-scale separation of charge (the double layer) and a micron-scale concentration gradient (the mass transport boundary layer). Cell performance may be limited by reaction kinetics across the double layer or transport phenomena across the boundary layer. This class is almost always about figuring out which one. Through the lens of chemical engineering fundamentals, we discuss batteries, fuel cells, electrodeposition, and the process of corrosion.
I used to write a blog called Clear Science which was one of the first science blogs on Tumblr. Clear Science was dedicated to straightforward science lessons in plain English everyone could understand. The blog was most active from 2010 to 2013, and had over 130,000 followers. I eventually got too busy to keep it up, but I value the lessons it taught me in how to communicate science, especially to a young audience. Some posts turned into larger projects, such as this one about aluminum, which eventually became an hour lecture I used to give to the freshman engineering students at NYU. It also had a nice collection of 40s and 50s black and white science pictures, which I like.
I’m pleased to announce that Hongli Zhu’s group and ours have received an NSF award to study and improve interfacial phenomena in all solid state batteries. From the abstract:
The specific objective of this research is to improve metal sulfide stability in solid-state electrolytes for the application of all solid-state lithium batteries. In pursuit of this objective, the fundamental mechanisms of metal sulfide ion conduction and interface reactivity will be interrogated by operando characterization carried out on realistic, fully operational battery cells.
Hongli’s group does material engineering of solid state electrolytes (SSEs), while my group specializes in operando characterization, using X-rays and various other techniques. The announcement from Northeastern is here, and the NSF award page is here. We start this fall and are looking forward to it.