The graduate students who work with me are concerned primarily with fundamental problems in the areas of immobilized enzyme technology, photocatalysis, permselective ceramic membranes and composite wood products, or with applying chemical engineering principles in innovative solutions to problems of the dairy and wood products industries. Our various projects employ a variety of modern physical and chemical instrumental techniques to characterize the systems of interest.
Students who are working jointly with Professor Marc Anderson (Water Chemistry) and me are concerned with both fundamental studies of the use of "sol-gel" technology to fabricate ceramic membranes and the practical applications of these membranes. Our perm-selective membranes have significant potential for use in harsh environments in which the lifetimes of conventional polymeric membranes would be too short to make their use practical. Our photocatalytic ceramic membrane technology is evolving rapidly and has important implications with respect to remediation of environmental problems.
Another applied component of our research program has involved using membrane processes (e.g., ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis and electrodialysis) and immobilized enzyme reactors to develop new technology for applications of interest to the dairy industry. Current studies focus on the use of immobilized lipases to both effect changes in the composition of milkfat and to generate products for flavoring a wide variety of processed foods.
A related research thrust involves modification of naturally occurring fats and oils to produce nutraceuticals [foods which confer both nutritional and therapeutic or preventative medicinal values].