The Department of Chemical Engineering was started in 1943 as a wing of the Division of Pure and Applied Chemistry. The Chemical Engineering wing earned the full status of a department in 1947. In 1961, it was affiliated to the Engineering Faculty and renamed the Department of Chemical Engineering.
Our department began as a center for excellence in research and higher education in chemical engineering to address the needs of a phenomenally growing chemical industry in post-independence India. The department has evolved significantly over the last six decades, reflecting changes in the Indian chemical industry and the chemical engineering profession worldwide. Research began in the fifties and sixties with focus on thermodynamics, reaction kinetics, catalysis, and unit operations, and was followed in the seventies by chemical reactor theory. Scores of catalysts were developed for homogeneous and heterogeneous reactions central to our industry, and a variety of chemical reactors were designed and analyzed. Gradually, focus shifted to more basic research in multiphase systems. In subsequent years, our department went on to make major theoretical contributions in multiphase systems and won considerable national and international acclaim.
Newer areas like colloid and interfacial science, biochemical engineering, complex fluids, and polymer science appeared on the chemical engineering arena in the eighties. In synchrony, our department developed cutting edge research programs in these areas and has emerged today as a major center for expertise in modeling complex fluids and advanced materials. Endeavors in biochemical engineering initiated during the eighties have culminated today in the establishment of several novel bioreactors across the country, bringing new accolades to our department.
The turn of the century is witnessing the fusion of traditional chemical engineering areas with modern fields like information science, communication technology, nanoscience, and biology. In keeping with this transition, our department today has acquired a significantly interdisciplinary character. Our current activities extend to such diverse areas as biochemical and metabolic engineering, colloid and interfacial science, complex fluids, environmental engineering, granular flows, molecular modeling and simulation, nanotechnology, theoretical biology, transfer processes, and process systems engineering. At the same time, we proudly retain our traditional strengths as work on reactor analysis, multiphase systems, and catalysis continues.
Our department has had a longstanding tradition of providing its students with chemical engineering education of the highest international standards. We currently offer programs leading to the Master of Engineering (ME), Master of Science (MSc(Engg)) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees. At present, 22 ME, 7 MSc(Engg) and 16 PhD students are enrolled. Our faculty roll consists of 12 full-time and 2 emeritus faculty members. The high faculty-to-students ratio facilitates close interaction and a cherished informal atmosphere. Since 1961, more than 500 degrees have been awarded in the ME, MSc (Engg), and PhD programs. Our alumni today include leading industrialists and academicians in India and abroad.