"Welcome to the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science (CEMS) at the University of Minnesota. CEMS has a unique culture that blends chemical and materials engineering to focus on a broad spectrum of problems central to economic growth, quality of life, sustainability, safety and security. We enjoy the thrill of discovery, and we pursue teaching and research in a highly collaborative environment that produces exciting synergies and an exceptional spirit of collegiality. The success of our students and alumni is a huge part of our proud tradition."
Chemical engineering integrates knowledge and methods from chemistry, physics, biology and mathematics, to develop and optimize processing systems for the chemical, energy, materials, biotechnology and food industries. The curriculum builds on fundamental principles of thermodynamics, transport phenomena, and chemical rate processes, to address design of reaction and separation units, and ultimately, of entire processing plants using economic optimization. The discipline, deeply rooted in science, is intellectually rich and diverse, offering a unifying perspective on analyzing and designing physical, chemical and engineered systems, as disparate as the human body and a chemical plant. The field is at the forefront of scientific and technological advances towards solving energy, environment and health problems, and developing new and sustainable manufacturing processes.
Innovations in engineering materials are at the core of every major advance in technology. For example, high strength steel paved the way for the industrial revolution, high purity silicon propelled the age of miniaturized circuits and computers, and optical fibers enabled high speed communications in the information age. Materials scientists have made tremendous progress in discovering unifying principles connecting processing, structure, and properties of all classes of materials (metals, ceramics, polymers, semiconductors, composites). Today the focus is on materials for the next wave of technological advances: nanomaterials for electronics; biomaterials for implants; electrochemical materials for high performance batteries and capacitors; advanced semiconductors for solar cells and flexible electronics; and high performance plastics and composites for automotive applications. Materials engineers design and process new materials, characterize their structure and performance, and understand how structure influences properties. The central concept is that advanced materials drive technology.