Interfaces and Surfaces

Interfaces exist in nearly every natural and engineered system. The processes that occur at these interfaces can often profoundly influence the overall behavior of the system. These interfaces can separate a solid surface and a fluid, two solids, two fluids, or a cell and a fluid or solid. We are using experimental, computational, and theoretical approaches to make major advances in this field.

One aspect of the research in this area involves understanding and manipulating interactions between (nano)colloidal particles in an effort to assemble bulk materials with a desired set of properties. These materials might be used in drug delivery, environmental remediation, or energy collection.

Microfluidic devices and principles are often used in this research field. Understanding the interaction of different fluids with different surfaces is central to many different technologies, so research is conducted on how easy or difficult it is for different engineered surfaces to be wetted by different fluids. Interfaces are critical in catalysis and electrochemistry, which has important implications for energy production.

Molecular tribology is another research area in this general field.

Key Faculty



The Penn State Department of Chemical Engineering, established in 1948, is recognized as one of the largest and most influential chemical engineering departments in the nation.

The department is built upon the fundamentals of academic integrity, innovation in research, and commitment to the advancement of industry.

Department of Chemical Engineering

121 Chemical and Biomedical Engineering Building

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-2574